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October 30, 2003

Vodafone working to improve deaf communications

From: Cellular-News - Oct 30, 2003

Vodafone UK has announced the launch of the Communications Support Directory via its Find & Seek service. The directory has been designed with deaf and hard of hearing customers in mind, but is also essential for hearing customers with colleagues, friends or family who are deaf or hard of hearing. The launch took place at the UK Council on Deafness Media Seminar, in London's Britannia Conference Centre.

The new service is available to all Vodafone customers with WAP handset capability. Customers can now access local information and contact details for local BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters, lip-speakers, speech-to-text reporters, communication support workers and deaf-blind interpreters. The service is especially relevant to Vodafone business and corporate customers in a year when BSL has been recognised as an official language of the UK.

The news comes as Vodafone UK and the UK Council on Deafness continue to celebrate their partnership, launched in August 2002, which aims to open up the world of mobile phones to deaf and hard of hearing people. The partnership recognises the importance of communication for this section of the community. Services like text messaging and a vibrating alert feature for incoming calls are recognised as important for the estimated 8.7 million people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"Until today, the Communications Support Directory was only available in printed form, or on the Internet" commented Jonathan Isaac, Director of UK Council on Deafness. "Vodafone's service not only makes it more widely available, but also has the benefit of allowing users to search by location. UK Council on Deafness will continue to work with Vodafone UK to create mobile information and communications services that are accessible, useful and affordable for customers who are deaf and hard of hearing."

© 2003 Cellular-News