Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


We want to run a campaign to make Derby the most D/deaf friendly city in the UK, and we plan to start this campaign with a bang with a World Record attempt that will raise awareness about D/deaf issues and promote Derby as a D/deaf friendly city.

Derby has the largest D/deaf population outside of London, and is home to the Royal School for the Deaf, Derby Deaf Club, Derby Deaf Forum, an office of the British Deaf Association, and many D/deaf friendly organisations.
We want to take the city even further by staging a mass participation event to promote D/deaf awareness, and teach hearing people some valuable BSL (British Sign Language) skills. A small fraction of people in the city know a BSL, and we want to address this in a positive way, with a focus on encouraging families to learn sign language together, and Derby businesses to enhance their accessibility.

We aim to get over 1,000 people taking part in a single mass sign language lesson to claim the World Record for the largest sign language lesson in the world. (The current record is 978). We plan to stage this event in the Market Place in the centre of Derby on Saturday 17th March 2018 to coincide with BSL week (12th - 18th March 2018).

Deaf Sign Language Teachers will be at the forefront of the event. Sarah Gatford, Consultant, Trainer and BSL Interpreter, will coordinate a team of volunteers who can sign to support the event. Interpreters will be there too to ensure communication is free flowing. Organisations (both D/deaf and hearing) will be asked to have a stand in the Market Place and there will be a variety of entertainment building up to the World Record attempt. Businesses surrounding the Market Place will be encouraged to engage with the D/deaf community.

Mackworth Estate Community Association (MECA) is proud of Derby's D/deaf friendly credentials. Reigate School in Mackworth has a large Enhanced Resource Provision for Deaf pupils. Also one of the local PCSOs is learning sign language and is a PLOD (Police Liaison Officers with Deaf People). Chairman, Cllr Paul Pegg, is extremely supportive of promoting improved integration within the City, and has worked with BSL specialist Sarah Gatford and Derby Days Out MD Natalie Bamford, to bring together a wide range of D/deaf friendly partners in the city to support this idea.

Derby QUAD will coordinate the technical aspects of the stage and video screens. We will work with our wider network of partners (including Derby Days Out, Derby Theatre, Deda, Derby Museums, Marketing Derby, The Derby Telegraph, and others) to promote this event, as part of a wider campaign to raise awareness about D/deaf issues in Derby. This will include a recorded version of the event, which will be edited, subtitled and shared widely throughout the community to help grow awareness.

We want to bridge the gap between D/deaf and hearing communities, build relationships, and bring people together. We aim to achieve greater inclusivity by making D/deaf people feel more valued in the city, and by helping hearing people feel more confident in communicating with D/deaf people. We will also raise awareness amongst hearing people about the D/deaf community in Derby as well as some of the issues and challenges that they face.

Being known as the UK’s most D/deaf friendly city will bring benefits not only for people already living here, but also for people who may choose to live, work and play here in the future.

We hope this campaign will encourage even more businesses to become D/deaf-friendly, and will encourage more D/deaf-led organisations to move to the city. By promoting inclusivity, we will promote a wide recognition that every person, no matter whether they’re D/deaf or hearing, adds something to the whole feel of our City.

We also hope that other cities can learn from our example and strive to become more D/deaf-friendly.

NB: Further information on D/deaf awareness is available at:

Project Video

Mackworth Estate Community Association

We are proud that Derby has the largest D/deaf population outside of London. We have a large number of D/deaf-friendly organisations in the city, and we want to build on these foundations to make Derby recognised as the most D/deaf friendly city in the UK.

Location: Derby