Coronavirus: Sign Language COVID-19 Support Fund

News article

Financial help is available to community and linguistic organisations and self-employed sign language support workers

The Sign Language COVID-19 Support Fund is now closed to applications.
The fund was open for applications from Wednesday 4 November to 5pm on Tuesday 1 December 2020.

The £430,000 fund provides grants to the sign language sector to support the survival, maintenance and sustainability of the local sign language infrastructure impacted by COVID-19.

Grants are available to both organisations and self-employed sign language support workers to continue their work in support of the deaf community throughout the current crisis and beyond.

The fund is part of the £29 million Executive allocation that was made to Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

Eligibility criteria
Applications are invited from:

  • self-employed individuals (for example, tutors, translators, interpreters, technical support staff and sign language researchers)
  • community and linguistic organisations

You will need to demonstrate that:

  • a significant part of your income is from sign language practice
  • you are currently experiencing difficulties due to work restrictions imposed by COVID-19 protocols

Organisations who have worked to promote British Sign Language (BSL) / Irish Sign Language (ISL) and sign language development can apply for financial support for initiatives which meet the criteria.

Eligible activities
Activities eligible for support include:

  • capacity building - including leadership development, marketing and business sustainability
  • digital enhancement for on-line learning and promotion and modifications to events, plans and equipment to ensure COVID-19 public health compliance 

Eligible areas for funding include:

  • to deliver a COVID Relief and Recovery Fund to mitigate loss of income and contribute to core running costs for organisations and self-employed interpreters, translators, tutors and session workers which may include funding for professional body fees and small equipment purchases to enable transition to online working (eg headsets, blue screens etc)
  • to increase sector's capacity to deliver support through BSL/ISL
  • to support Online Family Sign Language Courses and accredited BSL/ISL courses which provide for continued and enhanced employment opportunities for deaf tutors, session workers
  • to develop the sector's capacity for sustainability and renewal during and post- COVID-19 restrictions
  • to facilitate digitisation of BSL/ISL cultural and linguistic material for open online release
  • to assist the development of social media/online interpretation/translation of COVID-19 information through BSL/ISL

First published 10 November 2020