Cardiff RSL staff learn sign language to make venue "more welcoming" for deaf community members

NEW SIGNS: Cardiff RSL have taken a major step forward in welcoming deaf patrons through their doors, with all staff learning basic sign language. Picture: Isaac McIntyre
NEW SIGNS: Cardiff RSL have taken a major step forward in welcoming deaf patrons through their doors, with all staff learning basic sign language. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

Everyone loves a beer, coffee or meal at their local club, and Cardiff RSL staff know that their patrons are no different – everyone just wants an easy way to order their food and drinks.

That’s why they’ve taken the step to learning basic sign language, in an effort to give deaf locals a place they can easily order, and feel “welcome and invited”.

“We are always looking for ways we can connect to everyone in the community,” Brennan Coan, the RSL’s duty manager and promotional officer, said of the initiative. “We have a group from the Deaf Society that comes at least once a month for coffee and a catch-up.”

“We thought it was time to ditch the old note pad and pen and communicate with this group and everyone else in similar situations who want to come in.”

Mr Coan and seven other senior staff from the Cardiff RSL enrolled in the Auslan Basic Sign Language course, and have now completed the necessary training to speak to deaf community members.

“After we finished our training it felt like a privilege to be allowed into the Deaf Societies world,” Mr Coan said. “We learned more sign language just being another language – it’s another fascinating and fun culture.”

“Everyone here at the RSL still has a lot to learn in terms of the culture and the language, but we are now confident that we can communicate with anyone that speaks sign language and comes through our doors.”

Mr Coan also urged other businesses and venues to go down a similar path, to make Cardiff and the Hunter “more welcoming for those that rely on sign language”.

“I strongly encourage others to have a look into doing a similar course, the Auslan training is just seven weeks,” he said.

“It’s been amazing to see the positive response, and now we’re hoping to have even more of our staff trained in the very near future.”

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