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Sarah Hannett joins the Signalise board

We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the board of directors. Here, Sarah tells us more about herself and why she decided to get involved in Signalise.

Nicky Evans • May 18, 2021 • 2 min read

Headshot of Sarah Hannett

I am profoundly Deaf/BSL user and a Deaf professional. For the past 13 years I have been employed by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service as a Vulnerable Persons Advocate. The main aim of my role is to visit vulnerable members of the community who are classed as being high risk of fire. I undertake Home Fire Safety Checks in their property and sign post to different agencies to reduce the risks and improve their quality of life. There is also a legal aspect to my role, in the event of a fire records of my visit could be used as evidence in court. I am also involved in safeguarding cases in conjunction with social services and fire prevention campaigns. As a result, it is imperative for me to have access to highly skilled qualified interpreters to ensure that I am able to carry out my role effectively.

From my personal experience I have faced barriers in relation to different agencies who have not provided the appropriate interpreters with sufficient skills to meet my needs. This resulted in my decision to set up my own team of interpreters who are fully aware of my role and with whom I have a good working relationship which enables me to deliver a professional standard of service.

I am passionate about Deaf Community access in particular to health related issues. I believe strongly that Deaf people deserve the best possible interpreting service to ensure health equality for all. As a Deaf person I have witnessed the impact of poor quality interpreting standards and the frustration and confusion this can cause. Deaf people’s mental and physical health has been negatively affected by poor provision for too long. Health equality can only be achieved by taking account of Deaf people’s preferences and providing a good quality interpreting service.

Signalise provides an opportunity for the Deaf community to play an active role in ensuring for the first time that interpreter services meet our specific requirements and this is what has encouraged me to become a member of the board.