A council meeting in Moray will be the first in Scotland to be accompanied by sign language.
The council’s communities committee will meet tomorrow to discuss its sign language policy, and an interpreter will be on hand to make sure that residents with hearing problems don’t miss out on the debate.
Vice-convener of the committee, Theresa Coull, is a proficient user of British Sign Language (BSL) as she has a 40-year-old daughter who is deaf.
The Keith and Cullen councillor yesterday demonstrated the form of communication in a video for the Press and Journal’s website, as she welcomed the move.
Mrs Coull said: “As a mother of a deaf child I’m delighted that BSL will be used for the first time to translate the council meeting to the deaf and hard of hearing.
“This will be of huge benefit to those with hearing difficulties, as it will keep them updated with council matters.
“The deaf and hard of hearing have much to contribute to this area and should not feel that they are being left out.
“We really hope that they will contact us with their opinion of the service or any ideas they would like to share.”
The sign language translation will be captured on video using the council’s webcast system, which can be watched live from 9.30am tomorrow or anytime from the day afterwards.
The council’s equal opportunities officer, Don Toonen, added: “Moray Council was the first in Scotland to webcast its meetings, so it’s great to break new ground in using the technology to reach minority groups too.”
The British Deaf Association estimates that there are about 12,500 BSL users in Scotland and 7,200 of those are deaf.
Councillors have been asked to approve a draft plan on how to implement BSL across the authority.
If it is endorsed tomorrrow, the plan will bring the council into compliance with the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 and copies of the draft will be available at local libraries.
Drop-in sessions will be held at the North East Sensory Services offices in Elgin on Wednesday, July 4, from 7pm to 9pm and on Saturday, July 28, from 1pm to 4pm.