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We were delighted to recently welcome the Worshipful Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Toni Letts OBE to our Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) service in partnership with Citizens Advice Croydon.

Croydon residents and users of our service, Sharon and Dennis Dashey and Cleveland Donaldson came along to meet the Mayor and discuss how the service enables them to access information and advice in British Sign Language (BSL). By the end of the Mayor’s short visit, another three local Deaf people had arrived to visit the drop-in service. Lorraine Oaten, RAD’s IAG Officer, was quickly back to work supporting people after meeting the Mayor to reduce the queue!

The Worshipful Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Toni Letts, spoke to RAD and Citizens Advice Croydon staff and clients about the service, noting the importance of services provided directly in people’s first or preferred language rather than via interpretation. She commented: “I think it is important we talk about languages, we talk about European languages, we talk about Chinese, Japanese, but what about Sign Language?… it is so important. So I congratulate all of you.”

We discussed the type of support RAD in partnership with the Citizens Advice Croydon provide at the service; financial matters including debt and benefits, housing matters, discrimination, understanding correspondence and form filling to note just a few.

Croydon Citizens Advice CEO, Caroline Mack states “I am really happy that we have been able to offer this much-needed service to the residents of Croydon. Working in partnership with Lorraine and RAD has been a really positive experience for our staff, volunteers and clients.”

Mayor Letts remarked that she is hard of hearing herself and highlighted her understanding that deafness can sometimes be isolating. She was exceptionally pleased to know that services in the borough of Croydon are improving their access for Deaf people, whilst noting that more could be done, “I would love us to teach more sign language in our schools” she said.     

Addressing Deaf clients at the Citizen Advice Croydon Mayor Letts remarked “I think the service here is amazing and I do sincerely hope it continues, you must tell all your friends to come.”

The Royal Association for Deaf people and Croydon Citizens Advice would like to again thank Mayor Letts for her visit and also to Croydon’s Deaf residents who came along and shared their experiences.

Our Croydon Advice Service is open for Deaf people living or working in Croydon to drop in every Monday between 10am – 4pm at Citizens Advice Croydon, 48-50 Portland Rd, London SE25 4PQ.

Want more information about RAD’s advice services? You can contact us in a number of ways:

Telephone: 0300 688 2525

SMS: 0774 996 5727

Email: advice@royaldeaf.org.uk

Text Phone: 0300 688 2527

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