DEAF Cambridge residents will now be able to contact Cambridge City Council using a free online sign language service.
Following the recent signing of a new contract with the company SignLive, deaf customers can now use their computer or smartphone to receive British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation when using the council’s customer service phone line.
To use this service, customers simply need to register their details on the SignLive website https://signlive.co.uk/ and either download an app, or access it via the internet.
Once registered, deaf customers can contact the council and an interpreter is assigned to them via a live video link so they can communicate easily with a customer service advisor. The service is available through SignLive Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.15pm.
The service may prove particularly useful during the Coronavirus lockdown, when face-to-face appointments are limited and deaf customers may not be able to draw on support they would usually get from friends or relatives. The council also intends to keep the service running after lockdown is over.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “Due to government guidelines limiting face-to-face interactions, our customer service reception points are currently closed. I am delighted that we are able to announce this new service. It will make it as easy as possible for BSL users to contact us online or via phone - both during the current Coronavirus lockdown and in the future – so they can get the support they need from the council.”
Andrew Palmer, CEO of Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, said: “This is excellent news for deaf residents of Cambridge. Thanks to Cambridge City Council and SignLive deaf people can now easily contact the council directly using a computer or smartphone. I applaud the fact that the council have taken steps to make their services even more accessible and I hope other local authorities follow their lead.”