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11 09, 2015

Hands Across the Screen – Introducing Cherry to Clarion’s VRI for a Working Life Far Better!

By |September 11th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Sign Language, Video Remote Interpreting|0 Comments

Clarion’s Video Remote Interpreting service (VRI) has improved work life for one of our Access to Work customers, Cherry.

Cherry has been using Clarion for interpreting support for the past year in her role as Administrative Apprentice with Hart District Council. In addition, she has recently started to use Clarion’s Video Remote Interpreting service to ensure she has access to an interpreter around the clock and has been blown away at how easy it is to use!

VRI is a fantastic, cost effective way to break down communication barriers in day-to-day work situations. (See our other blog about using VRI in work) As an on-demand service, it allows access to a remote interpreter at the click of a button when a face-to-face interpreter is not readily available. It is not a replacement service for a face-to-face interpreter but an access facility for when meetings or appointments are arranged at short notice and improves the immediate accessibility of our Deaf customers; ultimately improving job prospects!

With Cherry, this has proved exactly that!

Earlier this year, Cherry, along with her line manager Kat Fulcher and Jean Hounsham, Business Development Manager for Leisure & Environmental Promotion at Hart District Council, looked for practical solutions to further assist Cherry in addition to face-to-face interpreting and we were on hand to introduce them to Clarion’s Video Remote Interpreting Service. What a real difference we made in enhancing Cherry’s accessibility at work.

Kat commented:

“Clarion’s VRI service has been an effective way of the Council improving communication between our Deaf and hearing colleagues whilst at work. The service is instantaneous, at a click of a button we have access to discuss issues pertaining to the day rather than wait until an interpreter is on site.”

Cherry now uses a mixture of face-to-face interpreters and VRI support on a regular basis to help her go about the day-to-day tasks of her role much more effectively. Cherry commented on the service saying:

“I am really happy to use Clarion’s VRI service; it has helped me to engage effectively with my Manager and colleagues at work at the click of a button! Without this fantastic service it would be hard for me to go about some parts of my work and I cannot imagine how I’d manage without it”

Furthermore, we were delighted to hear that Cherry was recently offered a new role with Hart District Council and we wish her every success in her future.

Clarion are delighted to support Cherry and many other customers through the VRI service. For more information about how you could benefit from VRI and about our 1 month’s free trial, contact Beth for more information.

Video Remote Interpreting

9 09, 2015

One Small Step for Snowboarding, One Giant Leap for Mike!

By |September 9th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Disability Achievement, Disability Sport|0 Comments

Mike attended the BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) Level 1 course and passed! Congratulations to Mike!

Mike, a Deaf fitness fanatic, personal trainer, squash champion and general all round fitness guru, attended the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead for a week-long BASI (British Association for Snowboarding Instructors) Level 1 course. Clarion were delighted to once again work with Mike; what fun we all had!

Steve, Tanya and Lee, our communication professionals, all donned layer upon layer of clothing (looking like Michelin Men!) and took to the slopes to ensure that Mike was able to follow the entire course content.

Mike learnt all the special manoeuvres associated with Snowboarding, in particular ‘Landing a perfect Ollie into a toe edge diagonal slide slip!’

Left: Tanya dressed as ‘Michelin Woman’ signing away. Right: Lyndon and Mike celebrating his success.

Mike commented on the support he received saying:

“The Clarion interpreters helped me to understand what the tutor said and to know what to do during the course… Tanya and Steve were brilliant with explaining things to me and giving me good notes too. I felt confident I knew everything that was going on, the same as for the others – who were all hearing. The whole group of 7 people passed and I have been told by BASI that I am the first British-trained Deaf Level 1 Snowboard instructor!”

His thoughts were reiterated by his parents, Vanessa and Paul, stating:

“We have to say that Clarion’s support has been invaluable and Mike was obviously very comfortable and confident with his interpreters. Clarion has been really supportive in all the administrative side too, which has been a huge relief”

Finally, Lyndon Boddey, the course instructor, also commented:

“I have had a Deaf learner before, but they didn’t have communication support. Having the support this time has made the whole process so much easier for Mike to follow and enjoy.”

Clarion extends our warmest congratulations to Mike on his achievements in passing the course and we look forward to supporting him in his next sporting venture. Who knows, maybe next time level 2 in the French Alps!

Clarion would also like to take this opportunity to thank BASI and the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead for their hospitality and the loan of their warm clothes! It truly was an absolutely unforgettable experience!

24 08, 2015

Access to Work – How to Complain

By |August 24th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, Advice, British Sign Language|0 Comments

Are you are having problems with Access to Work? These might be:

  • You are unhappy with your award/review decision
  • You have emailed but have not had a response
  • You have received your award from AtW but you feel the hours are not enough
  • You feel that you are not being ‘heard’ as a Deaf individual

You may find this article useful – here is the formal process to complain:


It is worth appealing; it is important that your voice is heard!

For more detailed information on all thing Access to Work, visit Darren Townsend’s website where you can find a wealth of information in BSL and written English.

If you have any questions at all about Access to Work, whether you are in work, an apprentice, self-employed or looking for work, please get in contact with Bob who is a Deaf BSL user and we will be more than happy to help via Skype call or email.

30 07, 2015

Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Services and Innovation

By |July 30th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Video Remote Interpreting|0 Comments

Ever needed an interpreter instantly whilst you were on the move? Ever wish you could break down communication barriers as quickly as you can say ‘interpreter’? Here at Clarion we have the answer!

You may have already heard about our Video Remote Interpreting Service – this is now available through an app, available to download for free from the App store.

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new app bringing us ever closer to instant equal access for the Deaf community. Remember not to miss out on our VRI summer sale and see how you could get your hands on a complimentary iPad when you sign up. Contact Beth to find out more.

To view the app click on the image below and for more information regarding the VRI service and how it can benefit you, please get in contact with Beth; she will be more than happy to help.

6 07, 2015

VRI “Summer Sale”

By |July 6th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, Video Remote Interpreting|1 Comment

Our Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) service is a quick and cost effective way to bring a fully qualified interpreter to you at the click of a button. It is a great way to break down language barriers in an instant – no more waiting for an interpreter to arrive to have a 10 minute chat with your manager.

It is much more cost effective to use VRI for a meeting lasting up to an hour than to book a face-to-face interpreter with a 3 hour minimum. With a pay-per-minute rate, you can save money and make your budget go further.

Here at Clarion we are getting into the summer spirit and offering new customers a one month's free trial on our VRI – saving you even more money!

This offer is for a limited time only; to take advantage of this great offer, please contact Beth to book before 31st August.

For more information, please complete the following form to access your FREE copy of Clarion’s Complete Guide to Video Remote Interpreting in British Sign Language PDF

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23 06, 2015

Clarion Embarking on a New and Exciting DWP Programme to Support Deaf and Hard of Hearing People into Work

By |June 23rd, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Deaf Employment|1 Comment

Clarion are pleased to announce that we have been chosen as a key partner to work with Doncaster Deaf Trust on the Specialist Employability Support (SES) which is part of a new Government funded programme specifically designed to help and support people with Hearing Impairments. In recognition of our award-winning specialist employability support for Deaf and hard of hearing people on a National level for the past 4 years on other Government programmes, we will be supporting customers with practical help in job searching activities across all parts of England.

Doncaster Deaf Trust’s Business Development Manager, Andy Ellis, commented “We are extremely pleased to have won this contract and delighted to be able to work with Clarion in delivering what we believe will the best practical help and support programme ever for people with hearing impairments.”

We are really excited at the prospect of working with both DDT and Action on Hearing Loss (Wales and Scotland) and will be keen to make a real difference to the lives of our customers. The programme will run initially for 2 years from 1st September with the option of extending another year. Clarion’s UK Business Development Manager, Bob Marsh said “This is a fantastic step in the right direction in terms of recognising the specific support needs of our customers with a DWP programme designed to meet those unique needs. It is a genuine DWP ‘first’ and we aim to give it a really good shot and produce a lasting impression for similar future programmes”

This will no doubt take us closer to meeting our Vision That every Deaf person gets the best interpreting, support and employment services in the right place, at the right time, throughout life’ and further consolidating our position as the UK’s leading provider of employment services for Deaf people

If you wish to know more about this exciting new venture please contact Bob Marsh or telephone 01763 209001.

Doncaster Deaf Trust can be contacted on or telephone 01302 386751
Doncaster Deaf Trust

26 11, 2014

Newcastle and Liverpool City Councils are “on the brink of financial collapse”. What does this mean for BSL Interpreters who work for the public sector?

By |November 26th, 2014|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Deaf Advocacy, Deaf Education, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

As a Geordie I was shocked and saddened to read yesterday’s Guardian article  about central government funding for Northern cities. In it, Nick Forbes, Newcastle’s council leader said: “You can see the embers of unrest starting to smoulder. Nationally, you see it in that drift to parties outside the mainstream. Locally, we see it in a far greater profile of far right marches through the city, far left marches through the city … we see people in abject poverty, coming through our service centres daily.”

One of his biggest concerns is cuts to children’s social care for children at a time of ongoing sexual exploitation cases; cash for this has been cut by 32% but need is up by 40%. In fact, Newcastle’s situation already seems impossible. Westminster cut £37m from its spending in 2013-14, with an additional £38m for 2014-15. Then further annual cuts of £40m, £30m, and £20m.

Whatever way you cut it, over a third of the money the council once spent must go, so Newcastle is in the midst of a dire squeeze on funding for aid for homeless people, children’s centres, youth services and rubbish collection. Back in 2011, Forbes said, when he and his colleagues had first confronted the depth and breadth of what they faced, a lot of them lapsed into silence. “People went white.  They literally went white, at the prospect of it. There was a sense of disbelief about what it all meant, and the scale of cuts we would have to make.”

Over in the North West, the situation is equally desperate. Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has warned government cuts mean the city could be “bankrupt” in just over two years and that it will only have money to run mandatory services, such as social care. He said that by 2016-17 “the city will be bankrupt – it is that stark a challenge for us”. Liverpool council has to save £156m over the next three years, on top of £173m worth of cuts over the last three years.

It could be said that there is a real inequality in the government’s actions, with the distinct flavour of a class war, waged from Westminster: with drastic cuts per head in mainly Labour areas, whilst richer, Tory-inclined places were relatively unscathed. For example, in Guildford in Surrey, the cuts between 2010 and 2013 worked out at £19 per resident; in Newcastle, it was £162.

But it’s not as though we weren’t warned. Think back to when Labour were still in power albeit just about to be ousted by David Cameron and organising services for Deaf people was relatively easy. I sat drinking coffee with an old friend, Craig Dearden (who knows stuff) and he told me the days of wine and roses were over, government coffers were empty, the cupboard was bare and basically the financial storm that was coming was going to be longer, harder and deeper than anything we had ever known in our lifetime. This was in 2007 and as today’s news points out is still taking its toll. It wasn’t a cheerful conversation, but it is a well-remembered one.

And, of course, the effects on our profession have been deep, competitors that set up alongside me in 2002 have gone to the wall; Lexicon, BSL Comms and the grandaddy of them all, Just Communication are all “Error 404” messages now. The swingeing cuts to ATW, with assessments of financial need now often performed with arbitrary and random decisions, are having a massive impact on the ability of Deaf people to find and sustain work. Only last week we had a Deaf client who was refused an interpreter for an interview due to lack of funding. The cuts in hospital budgets mean its much harder than in 2007 to persuade some hospitals to use our registered, qualified and experienced interpreters so we have to walk away. The cuts across the whole of HE and FE provision have meant students with disabilities are struggling with inadequate needs assessments and, again, FE colleges are asking for level 2 signers that are clearly not up to the job. All the interpreters and Deaf people I speak to know that cuts to legal aid budgets means that Deaf people are not getting fair access to justice, with the demise of RAD legal advice being the cherry on the cake of iniquity.

As for contracting, this government sent a clear message when it started that public sector contracts were going to much larger – with “supercontracts” leading the way. What this means is that small, local or specialist organisations (e.g. that work with people with learning disabilities only, or deaf people) cannot bid directly for work and often get cut out of the loop in favour of the very large international corporates.

So, we battle on, changing the way we work to suit the needs of our customers, negotiating with clients, end users and the incredible team of staff and freelancers that we work with and, for us, the future is relatively positive. But, those winds from the North are chill and I feel sad to be part of a society that cannot look after its more vulnerable people in a respectful and equitable way.

7 10, 2014

Clarion Supports 100th Deaf Person into Employment

By |October 7th, 2014|Categories: Access to Work, CEC Stories, Deaf Employment, Work Programme Success Stories|0 Comments

Clarion are ecstatic to announce that we have just supported our 100th Person into employment!

We are absolutely delighted to tell you that Amanda Atkin has got a job as a Cleaner at Leeds University!

Amanda, an experienced cleaner, found it really difficult to get work when she moved to Leeds. Amanda feels her deafness was a real barrier.  For Amanda, being deaf meant that she was unable to independently job search, complete application forms and contact employers. When she did get through to employers she felt that her deafness ‘put them off’.  Amanda was signed up to the Work Programme and referred to Ingeus.  Ingeus are a Prime Contractor who work with Clarion using our Communication Employment Consultant (CEC) Model to support their deaf customers.

Amanda worked really closely with Rebecca, her Employment Advisor from Ingeus and Penny, her Communication Employment Consultant from Clarion to look for work. She attended regularly and even though it took some time Amanda stayed positive and worked hard to achieve her goal.

Tracie Redshaw, National Operations Manager, Clarion

“We are thrilled for Amanda, she has persistently worked hard to get a job, she has taken the knocks and got back up again.

I am delighted to be able to showcase our Communication Employment Consultant (CEC) model’s success.  We also introduced our new employment training earlier this year. Amanda was one of the first delegates to attend this through Ingeus who piloted this training in their Leeds Office.

The inspiration for our CEC model and the training we provide is a desire to guarantee that Prime Contractors delivering on the Work Programme and Work Choice were able to offer a quality affordable service to meet the needs of their Deaf customers.

This fantastic news is also testament to our wonderful Partners who understand the importance of working with us to ensure that Deaf people have full and equal access to their services”.

Amanda told us…

“I am pleased with the help I had from Penny, my CEC and from Ingeus Advisor Rebecca. They helped me to get a job at the University. The course for employment skills was also good. It gave me confidence for interview and helped me to know how to respond to questions with confidence.

I am happy to get a job; it is always different each day and keeps me busy. I feel now I can move on with my life and start to make plans for the future.”

Penny Wilson , Clarion Communication Employment Consultant explains…

“Amanda joined the program just over a year ago.  At first she was quiet and nervous. However, over time Amanda grew in confidence and began to blossom in the group, we began to see who Amanda really was and enjoy her witty sense of humour.  Amanda joined the group for the Employability Skills Course, she was again a little nervous, but very quickly found her feet and had some real positive and informative contributions to the discussion and the course. During the course we covered interview skills and did a mock interview, this was an area that Amanda had struggled with previously, but with our guidance was able to overcome her fears to give a very strong interview. This served her well when she went for her interview at the University, armed with her new confidence and an understanding on how to answer the questions that faced her; she managed to successfully secure a permanent position. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Amanda and I feel that she will continue to grow in her chosen occupation and be a valued member of the University team.”

Rebecca Cockerton, Ingeus Employment Advisor  told us “it has been so exciting to see Amanda’s confidence in herself grow as a result of the course.  She worked hard to maintain the momentum that the course gave her, which resulted in this job.  I am confident that she will be a valuable addition to the team at Leeds University.”

Amanda Atkin has got a job
18 09, 2014

Access to work cuts – what does this mean for deaf and disabled people?

By |September 18th, 2014|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language|0 Comments

MPs take evidence on employment support for disabled people

On 3rd September 2014, the Work and Pensions Committee heard from users of Access to Work and representative groups as part of its inquiry into employment support for disabled people.

Clarion were delighted to provide Julia Anderson, Staff Interpreter, to interpret for the meeting, which was shown live with subtitles and simultaneous interpretation on BBC TV.

Marije Davidson, Equality and Diversity Advisor at York St. John University, giving evidence to the committee, said “I think more needs to be done to challenge the attitudes and behaviours of employers…Access to Work is the one thing that really empowers us as disabled individuals to go to the employer and to reduce the concerns that they may have about employing a disabled person. My big concern is that, when an employer sees a cost involved with applying for Access for Work and managing the support, managing Access to Work, they will have this negative experience, or see other employers having that negative experience and concerns…All the time that we have to spend sorting out Access to Work we cannot use to do our job…That is why the process needs to be smooth or they leave us desperate.”

Addressing the “30 hour rule”,  which said that someone needing more than 30 hours communication support a week could only claim at an hourly rate equivalent to a £30,000 salary, Dame Anne Begg, Chair of the committee said “we have been deluged—I think that is a gentle term—with submissions from people from the hearing-impaired community, simply because they have been at the very sharp end of this.”

Summarising, the session Dame Anne said: “Access to Work is a fantastic tool to help disabled people get into work and sustain work…It is not something to get them into work but certainly in sustaining work. It is, however, very poorly administered and, as a result of that poor administration, it is potentially costing the Government more and, as a result, is not able to cover everyone who might make use of it, had the resources been more effectively and efficiently used.”

A recording of the session can be seen on the BBC website, and a transcription of the session can be found on the UK Parliament website.


11 03, 2014

Access to Work – the Other Side of the Bridge

By |March 11th, 2014|Categories: Access to Work, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

Campaigns on the recent policy decisions for Access to Work are prolific and loud.  What happens on the other side though – before jobs are found?

We are all aware that the policy decisions of Access to Work (AtW) are affecting deaf people in the workplace and that there is a strong and current campaign here. Do you know how policy also affects job opportunities prior to employment through the Work Programme? – this is much less well known.

Communication Support at Interviews

Since 2010 communication support at interviews for out of work deaf people is no longer funded by AtW but by the Prime Contractor who supports deaf people to find employment. “Primes” include large out-sourcing organisations such as G4S or Serco.   This has made deaf customers extremely expensive for the Primes and deaf people may well be “parked” by them so that they do not cost too much.

There needs to be careful monitoring and measuring of this decision in 2010 to make sure that deaf people are not unintentionally and unilaterally discriminated against. Primes also need to make their communication support budgets explicit and auditable, to show that they have thought about the additional costs of working with deaf people and can clearly show that the appropriate and necessary investment is being made so that they can re-join the UK work force.


Action on Hearing Loss report that there are around 135,000 people of working age with severe to profound hearing loss.  If we estimate a small percentage of these people being out of work, say 2% of this, it still runs into the thousands. Our employment bookings cover 75% of the country but are used to support just 160 people nationally.  It begs the question where are all the deaf job seekers? Primes and DWP need to clearly demonstrate the specialist intervention support they are using for this group so that deaf people and BSL users become visible underneath the avalanche of numbers and statistics.

To see information in British Sign Language on the Work Programme, click here.