Disability charity Sense has revealed over 50,000 people have started learning British Sign Language (BSL) after the launch of their digital campaign during lockdown.
During the start of Deaf Awareness Week, Sense launched their digital campaign, in partnership with the GOOD Agency, which saw 15-year-old Tyrese Dibba teach BSL lessons during Sense Sign School.
The free campaign invited members of the public to sign up for free online classes taught by Tyrese, aka Mr Tyrese, who is Deaf and partially sighted.
The campaign has been promoted on Facebook and Instagram, and everyone that signs-up is taken on an email journey and receives a new BSL video lesson every day, for five days.
With an initial target of 7k sign-ups over the course of three months, and this was beaten in its first week with 8k sign-ups.
Tyrese Dibba’s charismatic performance is credited for the popularity of the campaign.
He said: “I want more people to learn to sign, so Deaf people don’t get excluded.
“You should be able to chat to someone, whatever their disability might be. After all, no one likes feeling left out.”
The incredible popularity generated national headlines, with Tyrese interviewed on national television, including Sky News.
Sense worked with the creative Agency GOOD to develop the campaign, which aims to break down communication barriers, promote understanding and tackle social isolation amongst disabled people.
Loneliness is disproportionately high amongst disabled people, with one in two experiencing it every day.
Sense research also shows that one in four Brits avoid conversation with disabled people, because they worry about saying the wrong thing.
“Hundreds of thousands of people who are Deaf use BSL as their first language, and if more people are able to use it, we can ensure that less people are left out, which is our charity’s mission,” commented Chris Jarrett, Sense director of engagement.
“Everyone at Sense is tremendously excited about the campaign and believe it will help us acquire new supporters which will be vital for achieving our ambition of supporting more families and disabled people in future”
With the Sense Sign School campaign set to end on Monday 17 August, it is fantastic to see such enthusiasm for learning BSL across the UK.