Serving Community Support Services During Lockdown

Involve Interpreter has been privileged to continue supporting essential community services during the UK’s lockdown. Our flexible BSL interpreting services has enabled Charley*, a social worker, to deliver essential support to a vulnerable deaf mum and her young child.

Charley works as a social worker for a local council and was handed in case involving a deaf mum who used sign language to communicate. After initially trying to communicate without a qualified interpreter using text and the grandmother, Charley contacted Involve Interpreter to see if we could help.

Our BSL Interpreter manager was able to discuss the needs of the deaf mum and her family with professionals who were supporting and offer almost instant service access for the whole social services team.

Connecting to our service through a mobile phone on 4G, Charley was able to visit the deaf mum at her home and conduct an initial assessment of their circumstance as well as arrange a further appointment. Charley was connected to one of our qualified BSL interpreters, who is experienced in community work. Our interpreter, Linda, explained how communication would work by giving the mum the phone and putting the speaker on full volume. This allowed Linda and Charley to hear each other clearly, and the deaf mum and Linda to see each other clearly.

Charley was also able to explain to the mum that every time they needed to discuss something, a qualified BSL interpreter would be available using this remote service, especially during the lockdown.

Since the initial contact, Charley and the social services team have been able to conduct a full conference including extended family members and professionals from education, law enforcement and local support services.

Conferences were held over multiple platforms with hearing conference attendees, joining by telephone conference on an external platform. The mum and Charley joined via video, with 2 BSL interpreters connected by video (Involve Interpreter) and in the telephone conference enabling them to interpret between British Sign Language and English across both platforms.

Multi-person conferences of this nature are a vital part of social work support systems for vulnerable families, ensuring that early intervention practices can be put in place quickly.

The UK lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has placed many vital services on hold. However, with the support of Involve Interpreter, social services have been able to meet urgent needs for deaf people needing access to vital services during this time.

Using remote services has also enabled professionals, community members and sign language interpreters to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by remaining in their homes or socially distant through the use of communication technology.

If you would like more information about Involve Interpreter services, please contact: [email protected]

*Charley’s name has been changed for privacy.

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