Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

A unique Sign Language event is set to take place at the Guildhall’s Peace Garden tomorrow as part of the launch of the Lifelong Learning Festival.

Schools from across the North Wesgt will gather alongside members of the public, both in person and online, to learn some basic sign language greetings with an aim to have as many people signing together at one time.

British Sign Language (BSL) is the primary language used by deaf people in the UK, and Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the primary language used by deaf people in the Republic.

Tomorrow’s event aims to make everyone realise the importance of both languages and how raising awareness can make a big difference while fostering a positive impact on society.

Facilitated by Hands That Talk, a charity volunteer organisation that aims to improve the quality of life for deaf people, the greetings will be in BSL and ISL simultaneously, creating a connection between community, location and language.

Phrases such as ‘hello’, ‘how are you’, and ‘I’m good’ will be just some of the expressions taught in an attempt to promote integration with the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing community.

Derry City and Strabane Learning City Project coordinator, Michele Murphy, believes raising awareness at this event will help bring communities together.

She said: “The aim is to encourage people of all ages across the northwest and online to learn a couple of words while finding out more about the culture of the deaf and hard of hearing community.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke believes the Lifelong Learning Festival can provide the building blocks to help develop Derry and Strabane into a Learning City for all.

He said: “Lifelong learning lays the foundations for sustainable social, economic, and environmental development. The festival will support the advancement of lifelong learning opportunities for all ages and at all educational levels.”

The Lifelong Learning Festival is scheduled to take place from 25th – 29th April and will feature over 100 events and activities, allowing the public to learn a new skill and take on a new challenge.


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