Plans are under way to improve services for deaf residents living in Aberdeenshire.
Aberdeenshire Council staff presented the British Sign Language local plan to the Banff and Buchan area committee yesterday.
Councillors backed the proposals which highlight the need for more BSL-friendly services being introduced in public buildings such as schools.
Under the plans, a review will be carried out to make sure that residents with hearing loss have access to psychological therapies if needed.
And activities which could help support deaf people keep active will be promoted.
A social isolation strategy will also be developed to make sure the needs of people in the community who use sign language are addressed.
The council officer told the committee: “This plan is to put services in place this year.
“First sets include our website which is now BSL accessible, support for pupils who use sign language in schools and ensure BSL speaking persons can access the arts, sports and cultural things.”
The move comes just days after a deaf man in the north-east told the Press and Journal of his difficulties accessing services in Peterhead.
He said the majority of deaf people could not understand what people were saying unless they were able to lip read.
He said: “We struggle. If we want a social worker how do they expect to phone us and have us understand?
“Most social workers can’t do sign language – Aberdeen Deaf Club has a social worker who can but I’m not allowed to use their services.
“The council should be doing way more, they’ve certainly not done enough.”
Councillor Glen Reynolds raised concerns at the meeting yesterday about the limited number of deaf residents being involved in the council consultation launched to improve services. Only 7% of the 418 people registered in Aberdeenshire gave their views.
And councillor Brian Topping also queries how councillors could communicate better with sign language users.
The area committee was told that translation services would potentially become available as well as awareness sessions provided by the council.