Communication is at the heart of all North London Cares clubs – sharing tales, exchanging life-stories and finding common interests. In the latest of our skill-based workshops, older & younger neighbours took up the challenge of learning a new form of communication - British Sign Language. Instructor Dali Kaur taught five sessions, starting in July and ending in December and introduced the gang to signs for the alphabet, basic greetings and lots more.
Some of the group had used British sign language before and were surprised how quickly it came back to them. Maria had fond memories of a North London Cares event she had attended a couple of years ago where she spent the afternoon getting to know some deaf children from a local school. The children had taught her how to introduce herself and how to spell her name and she was thrilled to discover that with a couple of prompts from Dali she managed to remember a lot of what she had learnt.
“Spending the afternoon with the children was so lovely and it really made me want to learn sign language. We had someone in our church signing prayers and I thought how useful it would be and what a skill it is. Meeting Dali was brilliant, she was so patient and such a good teacher. I thought I’d missed my chance for learning but North London Cares putting on the class was just what I needed, I’m going to do my best to keep practicing!”
The basics were covered at the beginning of each session so that neighbours could join the class at any point. There was a lot of laughter as the gang got to know each other and test their partners on what they had learnt. Kate managed to attend each session and really enjoyed the sense of progression she felt.
“I think it was a really valuable experience, I learnt a lot and ended up teaching most of my family how to sign “Happy New Year”! I liked the fact that I was getting to know younger people at the same time as developing a new skill. I struggle with hearing problems myself so it was great to have the opportunity to practice British Sign Language and pick up so many helpful phrases.”
For younger neighbour Ellie, the sign language club was her first experience of a North London Cares social club.
"I was a little nervous as I didn't know what to expect but I really enjoyed myself. I learnt a lot as the class was so fun and interactive but the best part of it was getting to meet Dora and having a chat with her while we were practicing our signs. I'm looking forward to seeing her at another club soon, I just hope I can remember a few because I know she'll test me!"
The sessions were a resounding success and many of the group have pledged to carry on learning British Sign Language by themselves.
Do you have a skill you could share with your older neighbours or is there a workshop you'd love us to host? Email [email protected]
Posted by Andy Naylor on Wednesday 9th January 2019
Andy is a Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs) at North London Cares