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Handforth unveils British Sign Language

An innovative new sign has been put up at Cheshire’s Handforth Station, thanks to a partnership with a sensory loss charity and the Friends of Handforth Station (FoHS).

Those who pass by the station can now practice their skills in British Sign Language (BSL) by spelling HANDFORTH using fingerspelling.

The idea was put forward by Mike Bishop, founder of FoHS, to the Cheshire-wide sensory loss organisation, DSN. Mike said: “We were looking at ways in the first lockdown to continue to work with the community and we thought it would be a great non-contact, socially-distanced activity that people could participate in.”

The BSL fingerspelling boards are on display on the station concourse, easily visible from the road over the bridge. They include information on both FoHS and DSN.

Mike added: “The boards have been very popular even now in the third national lockdown. Local people are using their daily exercise to walk by the boards and practice their BSL – which is exactly what the installation was intended for.”

Whilst FoHS welcome locals to view the new boards, they are encouraging people from out of the area to follow government guidelines and sit tight until it is safe to visit.

Gill Reeder, executive at DSN said: “We have been so pleased to have worked on this project with such a community-focused organisation despite the global pandemic! As an organisation we work towards a world were people with a sensory loss can communicate effectively and live healthy independent and fulfilling lives, and this is one way to help with that mission.”

Gill added: “We very much look forward to when lockdown is lifted so we can all visit and see the community giving BSL a try!”