What is the International Week of Deaf People 2021?
The International Week of Deaf People, as of 2021, is annually celebrated by the Deaf Community (including families, Interpreters, Deaf people, peers, national organisations and governments etc.).
This is recognised all around the globe through numerous events and activities and is held in the last week of September.
The events are aimed to promote human rights for Deaf people regarding equal access and to provide a platform in which they can have their voices heard. These can include; marches, debates, campaigns, fundraisers and many more.
One of the theme of the day is – ‘Cherishing Deaf History’ so we decided to use this to explain a bit about Remark!
Remark! Ltd was founded as a Deaf Media company in 1999 by Mark Nelson & Ramon Wolfe. Our offices were in East London. In 2000, we produced our first social services video, which was the first of many! In 2001 we moved to a new office in Greenwich with seven employees and Mark’s father.
A year later, Remark! Training was formed, with our first three students. Remark! Training went from strength to strength, and in 2017, we taught over one thousand students learning BSL. Today our training department offers British Sign Language (BSL) courses from Level 1 (beginner) to Level 6 (advanced). We also offer courses in sign language interpreting, which allows students to register with the NRCPD as a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI).
The next year in 2003, Remark! Access was formed, becoming one of the main providers of television access. Remark! Access specialises in making content accessible for Deaf, hard of hearing and visually impaired audiences across all platforms. We do this via the realms of Subtitling, Audio Description, British Sign Language (BSL) Translation, Audio Reading and Audio Transcription. We went on to work with the LOCOG to provide full accessibility for the 2012 Olympics, and previously for Disney Channel and S4C.
In 2005, Remark! hosted the Remark! Film and TV Awards, a sell-out event with over 1,000 attendees which was aired on BBC TV.
Five years later in 2010, Remark! Interpreting was set up. We provide BSL interpreters throughout the UK and internationally with an expanding team of both in-house and freelance interpreters. We knew that setting up an interpreting agency was a fantastic idea as being Deaf-led, we know exactly what support our clients need because we are experts in our field and care about providing an efficient and professional service. We completed nearly 11,000 bookings across the UK in 2019.
Jonny Nelson approached Remark! in 2010 about a potential partnership and setting up a charity to support the Deaf Community around London.
Remark! Community strives for a world where Deaf people have accessibility in all that they do. With their help, Deaf people of all ages can use services and attend social activities using their preferred language, BSL. Without Remark! Community, the barriers would still be there.
In 2011 we made the move to Central London, to our Leather Lane office. Two years later, we set up Remark! Living. We support Deaf people, including those with a wide range of additional needs or disabilities, to live independently and avoid isolation. Our support workers are Deaf BSL users themselves and therefore serve as role models for the clients they support, making our service unique.
In 2015, Jonny Nelson, Mark’s brother became Managing Director.
Remark! were delighted to be Highly Commended in the Small Business of the Year category at the Camden Business Awards 2017.
“It was a huge honour for the business to be recognised alongside so many other inspirational businesses,” said Managing Director Jonny Nelson.
Remark! was also nominated as Best UK Deaf Business for the Deaf Business Academy Awards 2018.
In March 2020, along with the rest of the UK, Remark! were forced to shut their doors and stay home. However, when faced with adversity, we adapted and continued to provide services. Our central team came in as key workers, Remark! Living worked throughout providing online support; our interpreting services remained available online and in-person adhering to government guidelines; we successfully applied for technology to allow our lunch club members to continue online, and our Training team worked hard with students to complete their courses. Despite the many challenges Covid put forth, we worked together to keep the Remark! spirits high and kept going. We couldn’t be prouder!
2020 also marked our 21st anniversary, Jonny Nelson, Managing Director said: “Wow, the last 21 years has flown by! There have been many fantastic achievements and Remark! have coordinated many different projects. Thank you to all the members of staff that have worked so hard, and to all our clients who have worked with us over the last 21 years. We really appreciate the Deaf community for all their support. We’re looking forward to the next 21 years or the next 100 years!”
Despite 2020 being a turbulent time for many of us, Remark! can celebrate many newfound achievements. Now, our teams continue to adapt, having to adhere to changing government rules and integrate Zoom into some of our services. We cannot thank everyone enough for the ongoing support.
In the future, we hope to grow and achieve much more that will mark a moment in Remark! history!