An open event was held to show Deaf and hard of hearing young people that an “inclusive, supportive” environment awaits them in Bolton.

The event was held at Bolton College for “D/deaf” learners last week and demonstrated the support available to them.

“D/deaf” refers to both people who are “culturally Deaf” and engage with other members of the community using sign language and to people who are “deaf”, meaning that the experience hearing loss but don’t always use sign language or have connections to the wider Deaf community.  

Bolton College head of learning support Siwan Hilton-Graham said: "We were so pleased to showcase the inclusive, unique and supportive environment that Bolton College provides for D/deaf learners.

“We’re absolutely committed to giving our students a sense of belonging, and the tools to confidently achieve a vocational qualification for their dream career, it’s what sets Bolton College apart.”

The Bolton News: A range of services were displayedA range of services were displayed (Image: Bolton College)

Ms Hilton-Graham says that the college has supported D/deaf learners for 35 years and now offers a programme of personalised learning and an extensive range of support services tailored to meet their unique needs, including expert language and technical tutorials, resource modifications and more.

The highlights of last week’s event included insights from British Sign Language support workers/interpreters who discussed their commitment to supporting D/deaf learners at the college.

The Bolton News: The college hopes to be an open and inclusive environment for D/deaf learnersThe college hopes to be an open and inclusive environment for D/deaf learners (Image: Bolton College)

Current and ex D/deaf students also gave guided tours of the college and gave first hand accounts of their experiences of student life.

Ms Hilton-Graham said: “The turnout and feedback from the event was excellent and a testament to the pride our staff take in their roles, it really shines through and I know that our visitors picked up on this.

“We remain dedicated to fostering an inclusive learning environment, and the success of the D/deaf Open Event underscores the college's ongoing commitment to providing exceptional support for D/deaf learners in Bolton and beyond.”

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She said that attendees were impressed by the “positive and vibrant” atmosphere at the event, with many people pleasantly surprised by the extent of the specialised D/deaf support offered by the college.

Feedback from visitors was overwhelmingly positive, with one praising the college's "fantastic inclusive learning environment for all D/deaf learners, the students who showed us around obviously love studying here".

 Another guest said "Congratulations on a great event, the room was full and there was definitely a great buzz in the room.

“The Bolton College D/deaf support staff should feel proud of themselves."