Sign Bytes is a world first. This unique groundbreaking project will bridge the information gap for Deaf people and give them the full rang of access and choice that hearing people currently enjoy.
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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1089918)
‚Äò Sign Bytes‚Äô is a unique, groundbreaking project. It is a world first, and it will make a major contribution to giving Deaf people equal access to information ‚Äì something that they have long been denied. The project takes vital information leaflets, translates them into British Sign Language (BSL) and makes them accessible to Deaf people across the UK by placing them on the Sign Bytes section of the Deafway website, www.deafway.org.uk - which is itself the first totally bi-lingual (English and BSL) Website. For many Deaf people, an estimated 250,000 in the UK (British Deaf Association figures), their first or preferred language is British Sign Language. There is no written form of British Sign Language and unfortunately literacy levels amongst Deaf people are significantly lower than amongst hearing people ‚Äì only 2% of Deaf school leavers read at an age appropriate level (Oxford Brookes University). As a result of these factors the majority of written information of any level of complexity is not accessible to Deaf people and they are therefore being denied access to the whole range of written information that hearing people take for granted. Most local and Government initiatives emphasise the need for all citizens to have equality of access to all services, opportunities and information. However most make no specific mention of how to make this information accessible to Deaf people. The reason behind this is that there was no practical way of doing so before the advent of this groundbreaking project. By translating written information and making it fully accessible to all 250,000 BSL users in the UK Sign Bytes has the potential to completely remove one of the major barriers that Deaf people face in their lives ‚Äì that of equal access to information. ‚ÄòSign Bytes‚Äô will bridge the information gap by translating information found in leaflets and on the Internet into BSL. We have developed the project with the full involvement of a pilot group of Deaf people who have guided the design of the project and website at every stage. All the features they felt important were incorporated into the site. Users of the site will be able to, at the click of a mouse, change the background colour against which the signer is signing, make the signer bigger, move the signer closer to the text or remove the text completely. In addition to this every icon on the website is signed. We need the funding from this application to pay for the rental and maintenance for the server for 12 months and to purchase filming-related equipment. The server stores all of the information on the Website and needs to have a very large capacity as the BSL leaflets take up far more storage space than written leaflets ‚Äì without the server, the project cannot continue. The filming-related equipment will enable us to film new leaflets ourselves rather than having to pay an outside company in London to do so. This will significantly reduce the cost of putting new leaflets onto the Website and thereby make a major contribution to the long term sustainability of the Sign Bytes project. The Sign Bytes project makes it possible to access leaflets in BSL 24hrs a day whether from the comfort of your own home or a library or Internet caf√©. This unique project is essential if we are to bridge the information gap for Deaf people and give them the full range of access and choice that hearing people currently enjoy. The initial funding was sufficient for the development phase but has now run out. We believe strongly that within two years the project will become self-funding. Once we have built up a customer base we can charge statutory and commercial organisations for placing their leaflets on the website. However, it will take us two years to reach the point where that is possible. We are therefore seeking urgent funding to enable this groundbreaking project to continue and make the journey from completed pilot project to fully commercial and self-sustaining status. With your support Deaf people will have the chance of equal access to information for the first time in their lives. Please help us to make this happen
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