Special sign language tour will help visitors feel engaged with history of Seaton Tramway

PUBLISHED: 12:02 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 06 November 2019

Seaton Tramway. Picture Chris Carson

Seaton Tramway. Picture Chris Carson

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A Seaton attraction has introduced special tours - aimed at deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users.

The new filmed tours at Seaton Tramway feature a signer to help BSL users get a better understanding of the information presented the attraction, and help them feel engaged with the history of the site.

Many Deaf BSL users in the UK use BSL as their first language and may struggle with large panels of written English.

By introducing the filmed BSL tours, deaf visitors can receive information in a format they prefer.

The tours were developed by Heritage Ability, a three-year initiative funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help improve accessibility at more than 20 attractions in the South West, which worked closely with a deaf BSL signer.

The tour has also been introduced at Lundy Island, a granite outcrop in the Bristol Channel.

Paul Valentine, a Heritage Ability deaf volunteer who features in the Lundy BSL tour, said: "Having a BSL filmed tour available at attractions is so important.

"It helps BSL users who struggle with written English, to go out with their families and enjoy the heritage in the South West on an equal footing."

Each BSL tour consists of several short film clips, signed by a volunteer Deaf BSL user. The volunteer, with a member of the Heritage Ability team, visit sthe heritage attraction to learn the history of the site in detail.

The volunteer is then filmed, signing the relevant information in a way that is both engaging and informative for other Deaf BSL users.

The clips are then transferred onto tablets, which are available to visitors on request, and can be picked up on arrival in the reception area.

Visitors can use the tablets to travel around the site and access the information at their own pace.

The clips are also uploaded to the Heritage Ability Youtube channel, for visitors to view on their own devices.

Heather Brown, deputy chief executive officer of Living Options Devon, said: "It is fantastic that the new BSL filmed tours are now in place at Seaton Tramway and Lundy.

"Heritage Ability is working with 22 sites in the South West to help break down the barriers faced by Deaf BSL users visiting heritage attractions.

"We believe by providing information in a format BSL users are comfortable with, they can just relax and enjoy their day."

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