Agenda and minutes

Deaf Community Forum
Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 7.15 pm

Venue: Community House, Fore Street, Edmonton N9 0PZ

Contact: Stacey Gilmour 020 8379 4187  Email:

No. Item



To elect the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Deaf Community Forum for the municipal year 2018/19.


Councillor Hass Yusuf was appointed as Chair for the municipal year 2018-19. Councillor Alessandro Georgiou was appointed Vice-Chair for the municipal year 2018-19.


In the absence of Councillor Yusuf, Councillor Georgiou chaired the meeting.




Councillor Georgiou welcomed all Councillors, attendees and speakers to the meeting. The BSL Interpreters and Hands on Signers were introduced.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Hass Yusuf.



Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.


No declarations of interest were received.



To receive an update from Tola Kolawole, Head of Wellbeing, CommUNITY Barnet on how CommUNITY Barnet and its partners will support Enfield residents with sensory impairments.


RECEIVED an update from Tola Kolawole, Head of Wellbeing, CommUNITY Barnet on how they and their partners will support Enfield residents with sensory impairments.




·         The new wellbeing and information service called Enfield Connections, facilitated by Community Barnet launched in April 2018.

·         In partnership with the Enfield Voluntary Sector, Enfield Connections will cater for residents who need improved information and advice to enable them to make informed decisions to remain independent and active.

·         Working in collaboration with a wide range of expert charities, Enfield Connections will provide accessible services to all residents including those with hearing impairments, learning disabilities and the elderly community.

·         Enfield Connections aim to reach residents through telephone, internet, type talk and face to face.

·         Vulnerable community members will be supported in form filling, later life planning, some appeals work and supported volunteering.

·         Enfield Connections will be overseen by CommUNITY Barnet and delivered through Enfield Disability Action, Age UK Enfield, Mind in Enfield, Citizens Advice Enfield and the Homeless Resource Centre.

·         The Deaf Community can visit the Mind in Enfield Office, Fore Street, Edmonton, N9 for help and support. Appointments would need to be made in advance however to enable a BSL Interpreter to be booked.

·         CommUNITY Barnet as an organisation do not provide any other services themselves but use local delivery partners to provide connection services.

·         Arrangements are in place for all delivery partners to provide BSL Interpreters when they are needed.

·         Enfield Connections has a fast track booking service for people with disabilities to see the specialist disability provider.

·         CommUNITY Barnet had attended the BSL Users Forum in May and July 2018 as well as the ENDIG meeting to advise and update the Deaf Community on the various services that Enfield Connections would be providing.

·         The new service is still in its infancy and it is recognised and appreciated that the Deaf Community have been used to a very different way of receiving and accessing services. However, CommUNITY Barnet and Enfield Connections are very keen to engage with the Deaf Community to look at and discuss what is needed and ways of improving the services on offer. Any suggestions and feedback from the audience tonight would be greatly received.


The following questions/comments were raised by Councillors:


Q.        How are you assessing the needs of the Deaf Community?

A.        We are working closely with Action for Hearing Loss, ENDIG and the BSL Users Forum to obtain feedback and suggestions on what the Deaf Community require and how these services can best be delivered. Staff are also undergoing Deaf Awareness Training.  

Q.        How do the Deaf Community deal with council issues, such as housing, council tax enquiries etc.?

A.        These sorts of issues are dealt with by Mind in Enfield, Edmonton N9.

Q.        In terms of accessing the specialist advisers what is the current waiting time?

A.        Two weeks at present but we are working towards improving this.

Q.        Do you have numbers for how many people have used the service since it was launched?

A.        In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2018.


AGREED the minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2018.



(i)            To receive feedback and suggestions for discussion at future meetings.

(ii)          Please can residents advise how they would like to be contacted regarding future meetings of the Deaf Community Forum.


The Chair allocated fifteen minutes to hear from the audience to discuss how they felt about the services provided by the Council for the Deaf Community.


The following comments/questions were raised:


·         Why was the contract awarded to CommUNITY Barnet despite extensive protests from the Deaf Community? The service previously provided by the Deaf Project worked extremely well, and offered the exact services that the Deaf Community require?

·         How long has the contract been awarded to CommUNITY Barnet for?

·         There are currently two consultations (Waste Services and the Budget) out for public consultation which the Deaf Community are unable to access. There are no hard copies available in BSL and the ‘Listen’ link on the Council website which is used to access the consultation document is not working either. Mary White, Deaf Project Manager said she would now have to use the Thursday Deaf Community Drop In session helping complete the consultation survey.

·         A recent Council Job Fayre, held in September did not provide any BSL interpreters so again this was not accessible to the Deaf Community.

·         The remote Interpreting Service provided each Monday at the Civic Centre is just not efficient and does not provide the Deaf Community with the service they require. The computer systems and internet regularly fail, the wait time is far too long as council staff must wait for the remote interpreting staff to become available, and as many of the Deaf Community are not computer literate they cannot understand or follow the process. The audience agreed that they need a one to one interpreting service as this is the best way of communicating for them. They do not want to rely on a ‘hearing service’. However, despite raising these concerns time and again, the requests and needs of the Deaf Community are continuously ignored.

·         The Dial-A-Ride Service is very inflexible, unreliable and often cannot be booked to coincide with other appointments already made; for example, an appointment at the Citizen Advice Bureau. This then has to be cancelled which is most frustrating as it has usually taken ages to even get this appointment due to waiting for a BSL Interpreter to be booked. The audience felt that they were being let down by both services.

·         Concerns were raised again regarding the cycle lanes, especially when exiting buses directly into these lanes as the Deaf Community cannot heard bicycles approaching, therefore it is extremely dangerous for them. This matter had been raised at the March meeting with
David B Taylor, Head of Traffic and Transportation, but no improvements appear to have been made. This matter would again be taken up with David and feedback provided at the next meeting.

Action: Stacey Gilmour

·         Have front line council staff now received better Deaf Awareness Training as the view of the audience was that no improvements had been made.

Action: Stacey Gilmour/Mark Morgan, Operations Manager


·         The audience addressed the new Councillors on the Forum and said they hoped it was now apparent to them that every way the Deaf  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



To note the dates of future meetings as follows:


20 March 2019


NOTED the date of the next meeting as follows:


20 March 2019