Help & Advice9th July 2015

Privately owned Deaf-led business continues to set high standards

20 years old, Deaf Friendly Business Solutions delivers high quality programmes excelling in Deaf Friendly training

by Deaf Friendly Business Solutions

Finishing the latest deaf awareness session just north of London yesterday, the Deaf trainer from Deaf Friendly Business Solutions (DFBS) was yet again surrounded by delegates at the end, desperate to tell her how much they had learned and how much they had enjoyed the session. This exuberance is in direct contrast to how difficult it can be to convince an organisation about the benefits of running a session like this in the first place.

Now 20 years old, DFBS is one of the oldest privately owned deaf-led organisations delivering Deaf Awareness, BSL translations, BSL courses and work placed support programmes in the country. It has stood the test of time, with the vast majority of clients enquiring about their services following a recommendation. In those 20 years the marketing budget has been next to nothing, with a concentration instead on providing value for money and over delivering on client expectations.

Deaf Friendly Business Solutions was born out of the frustration of the owner, Sarah Lawrence, who was trying to move on from her mainstream education into mainstream employment. Highly creative and good with technology, she fitted in well with the creative industries and soon excelled at her job. The problem was that she had an issue with people taking her ideas and presenting them to customers as their own, suppressing and under-mining her as a deaf employee and trying as best they could to keep her neither seen or heard. She thought it was unfair, and the isolation and lack of deaf awareness in those work places made the work environment an unhappy place.

Whilst grateful for the money and the opportunity, Sarah was not prepared to put up with all that crap and just be walked over, so, standing up for herself, she found herself made redundant four times early in her working life. Looking at the options, and inspired by other deaf women around the world, she set up Deaf Friendly Business Solutions, hoping that she could help and support other deaf people by spreading some awareness out there.

Twenty years on, her reputation as a trainer and consultant on deafness is second to none, with a huge number of her clients coming to her for return business time and again. The bottom line is, quality counts, and that is what DFBS delivers time and again.

Underpinning the survival of DFBS are a number of golden threads, each of them putting the client, the service or the product at the centre of the relationship.

Having worked as the BSL translator for the ITV Wales News for 10 years, Sarah is passionate about the quality of communication that is made available to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. That passion strives for perfection, so every request for BSL content always goes through a rigorous quality assurance process. The feedback has been consistently and overwhelmingly positive, from a wide spread of clients, both public and private sector and it is brilliant to see a mini explosion in requests for BSL translations with companies finally waking up to the power of the Deaf pound.

Equally, deaf awareness is on the up too, and as more is done to raise knowledge about what deaf people can do, more deaf people can access work, and more people will see what can be accomplished with the proper work environment in place. 

One of the many strengths of DFBS is the expertise in British Sign Language, and whilst a relatively small number of people in the UK state that BSL is their first language, the ability to sign can have a number of benefits, some of which involve better communication in noisy environments or across distances, it is not just about deaf people using BSL. DFBS design and deliver what organisations need by way of BSL capability, whether that is through a structured certificated course, or a completely bespoke course that teaches topics like banking, insurance, event planning, hospitality, policing, or health specific language. 

The duration of courses are completely flexible and designed around a client’s commission, but one thing is for sure, people who attend learn a lot, they have a good laugh whilst doing so, and they always finish the course wanting more. The times the feedback sheet reads, “This is the best and most useful course I have ever been on,” are too numerous to count!

Some organisations seem to have an in-built fear of using a Deaf trainer and turn to other businesses who use ‘one of their own - a hearing trainer’ to deliver these courses. The training this week, followed deaf awareness training by a hearing tutor a few years back, and those who attended both were pretty brutal in their assessment of the difference and the extent of the learning when taught by a Deaf, indeed culturally Deaf teacher.

Being Deaf Friendly as an organisation, translates simply to being customer friendly, because working with DFBS will instil an ethos of people being in ‘Help Mode’. It helps people unlock their inner ability to be a problem solver, a supporter, an advocate, and a friend. It makes for a better and more enriched work environment, which means everyone can flourish.

DFBS offer these services, and if you are interested in improving staff morale, customer satisfaction, productivity or your bottom line, you might want to get in touch. DFBS is not 20 years old out of sentiment for the Deaf owner, it has reached this milestone because it makes a difference.

*  Deaf Awareness Programmes
*  BSL Taster Courses
*  BSL Translations
*  Bespoke BSL Courses
*  Workplace Support to Deaf employees
*  Private BSL tuition

To contact Deaf Friendly Business Solution send an email to telephone 01600 729180 or text 07944 160766 to discuss your requirements.

Article by Deaf Friendly Business Solutions

posted in Community / Help & Advice

9th July 2015