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Retailers sign up for free deaf awareness training at Festival Place

As Deaf Awareness Week gets underway, almost 80 retailers have completed special training at Festival Place in Basingstoke.

Running from May 2-8, the national week is designed to highlight the impact of hearing loss on everyday life and increase the visibility and inclusion of deaf people.

Festival Place signed up to the #WeSupportDeafAwareness campaign founded by local deaf campaigner Simon Houghton in February and is part of the centre’s ongoing commitment to support people with hidden disabilities and promote wider awareness of these conditions.

Now 78 of its retailers have completed free training on how to communicate better with the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, with all retailers signed up over the next few weeks.

Employees are learning how to make life easier for people struggling to engage in two-way conversations, particularly when one or both might be wearing face masks.

All participating stores are displaying signs demonstrating staff awareness to customers. As well retailers, FP staff, and teams from the Customer Lounge, and both security and housekeeping are also undergoing the special training.

FP Business Performance Manager Rachel Carter said: “We understand that the pandemic has posed particular struggles for deaf people and life has been very difficult for those unable to lip-read because of widespread mask wearing.

“We are delighted that so many of our retailers have now received the training they need to help them communicate more effectively.

“We hope even more will take advantage of the free training scheme and join our drive to help make life easier for our deaf and hard-of-hearing customers when they visit the centre.”

Simon Houghton added: “This is incredible support shown and acted on by Festival Place and I can’t thank everyone enough for their commitment. It really shows how inclusive Festival Place strive to be, and I’m so proud to be working with them to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals.”

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