THE impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the deaf community was among the issues discussed at a special event hosted by Belfast City Council.
Storyboards capturing the stories of members of the deaf community in the north were also on show at the event, which was organised to mark Sign Language Week.
Brian Pelan, editor of VIEWdigital magazine, was the guest speaker and gave an insight into how a recent edition was dedicated to raising awareness of deaf issues featuring contributions from the local deaf community.
The event, which was organised by the council and Sign Language Users Forum, was held at 2 Royal Avenue. It was split into different zones featuring an area focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on the community and a signed recital poetry performance.
Belfast City Council was the first council in Northern Ireland to sign up to the British Deaf Association’s Sign Language Charter committing to promote better access to public services for deaf people.
The Sign Language Users Forum was set up, as a result, in 2019.
Speaking after the event, Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl said: “I was honoured to attend this wonderful event at 2 Royal Avenue getting to meet with members of our local deaf community in Belfast and representatives of deaf organisations.
“All of the attendees, like myself, were treated to an experimental journey focusing on the story of a deaf person.
“One of the three zones raised an awareness into how the deaf community struggled during the pandemic and this was particularly evocative.
“Sign Language is one of the five strands of our language strategy and it’s fitting to celebrate and promote the language through Sign Language Week.”