Welcome from the Director of Training
A very warm welcome to Sign for Thoughts! Hello, I am Penny, Owner and Head Trainer of Sign for Thoughts. I also have Usher syndrome, which means I am Deaf with a partial sight loss. I am currently studying Deafblind studies alongside expanding Sign for Thoughts' offering of Deafblind training courses.
I'm delighted that this year in 2022, Sign for Thoughts has been running for 15 years! I have personally taught many students throughout the local community, and feel grateful to work alongside many talented teachers.
I set up Sign for Thoughts in 2007 in response to a sudden and dramatic decline in the availability of BSL courses nationwide. I wanted to fill the gap and make sure that learning BSL was available to anyone who wanted to do so. Over the last 15 years, we have expanded the learning that is available so now we can take you through all levels of BSL as well as Deafblind qualifications. We are fully accredited with both awarding bodies - Signature and iBSL.
I'm so pleased that you are thinking of joining us and giving us the chance to be part of your communication journey, whether that's for Deaf or Deafblind people. No matter whether you want to learn with us as a hobby, to chat more easily with your friends, or as a stepping-stone for your future career as a Sign Language Interpreter, Support Worker or Deafblind Communicator, we pride ourselves on having something for everyone.
There's no doubt that the last few years have been so challenging for everyone, in every sense. We continue to offer online classes alongside our usual face-to-face classes. We recognised the benefits of having online classes and decided to set these up during the pandemic. Perhaps you don't have BSL classes in your area, or perhaps you struggle to find childcare. Now you don't have to let this be a barrier in beginning your BSL journey. We are offering online classes for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
We have also delivered deaf awareness and basic BSL courses to Rushmoor Fire Station, Surrey & Hampshire Community First Responders, and Love Camberley. We look forward to continuing to run deaf awareness workshops, if you think this is something that could benefit your business then please get in touch.
Our vast expanse of courses mean we can take you from whatever level you are at and introduce you to a variety of new learnings and ideas. We have an amazing team of teachers that bring with them rich experiences, knowledge, and most importantly - an engaging and fun lesson.
The greatest pleasure and excitement I have is seeing students develop and make progress with their confidence and language skills. It is marvellous to keep in touch with what they go on to achieve when they leave us. Once a Sign for Thoughts friend - always a Sign for Thoughts friend!
You may be aware that the Government recently passed the BSL Act. We hope that this means more power for BSL as a language and strength behind our rights as Deaf people to access services in BSL. I believe very strongly that access to language should be available to EVERYONE in our community, whether you use BSL, English, Lipreading, Deafblind Manual. With access to the right communication we can open up the world with wonderful conversations, rich interactions and where Deaf, Deafblind, deafened and hearing communities warmly welcome each other. A world where the barriers to effective communication are removed, and lifelong friendships can be made.
The whole community has something to gain from sharing a common language; which is why we work very closely with partner organisations. These include local authorities, schools and charities. We have an ongoing close relationship with local charity, CSSEF (Chloe and Sophie's Special Ears Fund) who aim to brighten the lives of Deaf children through granting wishes and funding parents of Deaf children to learn Sign Language.
Now I don't do this by myself! I have the most talented team of Deaf and hearing professionals working alongside me, many of whom have been here since the beginning, bringing passion and nurturing care to your learning environment. They all bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to every aspect of Sign for Thoughts.
I am delighted to welcome Laurie McGarry and Vicky Weatherly to our growing team of Deaf native teachers. In the meantime, we are sad to say goodbye to Sarah Reed, who has been our Deafblind trainer for 7 years and we want to thank her for all her hard work and passion during her time.
I do hope you choose us to be part of your learning, but whatever you do and wherever you go I wish you every success and happiness with your future. Keep those fingers moving!