Traditionally, BSL interpreting services were provided by local councils, and local Interpreters were well known by the local deaf community. Over the past ten years with the introduction of national frameworks, this provision has now predominantly been handed over to private agencies.

Private agencies sole aim is to make a profit with complete disregard to the standards or quality of the service being provided. In many cases BSL is used as a loss leader, where agencies provide BSL services at a loss in order to gain the other more lucrative spoken language interpreting contracts.

Signalise is here to change all that. Based in Merseyside, Signalise is a new co-operative for Deaf people and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and is the first of its kind. 

Deaf people aren’t getting the service they need and BSL interpreters, who train for an average of seven years to qualify, are having their terms, conditions and fees eroded. Our members are the end users (Deaf people) and end suppliers (BSL interpreters) who are coming together to co-design and co-run local provision.

Embracing tech for good, and the new platform co-operative movement, we are establishing an online booking system that will meet the needs of both communities – Deaf people and BSL interpreters – and offer value for money to the public sector. As the users and workers, we know what is required in order to provide a high quality service.

Any profit we make will be reinvested into our communities to improve standards – be that providing additional training and support for interpreters, or piloting schemes that can demonstrate a need to commissioners.

To make this happen, we need your help! Our Crowdfunder ends on the 19th October, so there is still time to be part of the biggest shake up to provision in years! You can donate here.