Ways to take action
There are lots of different ways to spread the word about your campaign and to find supporters.
Organise or attend local meetings
If cuts or changes to services are planned in your area, you can set up your own meeting for parents, supporters and others who are worried. You might want to invite the key decision makers along, for example your local councillors or MP, MLAs, MSs or MSPs. Get in touch with us if you’re not sure how to set up a meeting. We can help you prepare, and join in the meeting if you want us to.
When creating your petition, choose a clear title which sums up your issue. State the problem, why it matters for deaf children, and what the solution should be.
There are many different petition platforms:
- UK Parliament – if you reach 100,000 signatures, a debate in parliament will be triggered.
- The Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly have their own petition platforms. The Northern Ireland Assembly doesn't currently have its own platform.
- 38degrees or change.org – These petitions look more attractive and allow you to personalise your petition by including images and videos. The petitions tend to be easier to sign and often end up reaching more people.
- A petition on your local authority’s website. In many local authorities, if a petition gathers over a certain number of signatures the council must respond to you, or have a debate on the issue.
- Or, do things the old-fashioned way and set up a paper petition! When you’ve gathered enough signatures, you can post or – even better – present the petition to the decision-maker you want to influence. (This can also be a good opportunity to get some media coverage for your campaign.)
In early 2021 Dinah, who sits on our Young People's Advisory Board, started a petition calling for clear face masks in education. More than 45,000 people signed it and helped convince the Government in England to change their guidance on face masks at schools and colleges. Watch Dinah and Daniel's video about the petition.
Engage your MP, MLAs, MSs or MSPs, or local councillors
In England, your MP can help raise awareness of national issues. For example, if your MP gets on board with your campaign, they can raise your concerns with key Government Ministers, or in Parliament. Find your local MP here.
In Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, your MLAs, MSs or MSPs can help you spread the word about issues in the devolved nations and your local area.
- Find out more about Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Northern Ireland and who your local MLAs are.
- Find out more about Members of the Senedd (MSs) in Wales and who your local MSs are.
- Find out more about Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) in Scotland and who your local MSPs are.
You could email or write to your MP,MLAs, MSs or MSPs, or get in touch with them via social media. You could also try and meet with them – take a look at their website to find out the best way to arrange a meeting.
MPs, MLAs, MSs and MSPs are very interested in their local areas and their constituents. When contacting them, make your message as personal as possible – include lots of detail about your concerns and how it’s affecting your child and family, and other deaf children in your local area.
Your councillors work in your local area and can support you with local concerns. For example, if you’re worried about proposed cuts to services for deaf children in your local area. Visit your local authority website to find out who your local councillor is or head of a particular department, such as children’s services or education.
A demonstration is a great way to gather supporters at an important location to make your voice heard. The local (or national) media might be interested too.
For example, if you are campaigning against council cuts to services for deaf children, you could organise a demonstration at the council building to put pressure on councillors to change their mind.
When organising a demonstration, remember:
- If your demonstration includes a public march, you must by law tell the police in writing 6 days before the march if you’re the organiser. If you arrange a march at short notice, you must still tell the police as soon as you can. Find out what you need to tell the police.
- If there’s no march organised as part of your demonstration, you don’t have to notify the police. However, it’s a good idea to let the police know anyway so that they are not surprised by the demonstration or try to disrupt it.
- Have an aim in mind for the demonstration. Are you hoping to get media coverage, or perhaps lobby your local authority to change their minds on a decision?
- Ensure that the demonstration is peaceful and the campaign message is the main thing that people will take away from the event. Any unrest or illegal activity can seriously damage your cause.
- Please let us know if you are planning a demonstration as we may be able to provide support, either in the run up to the event or on the day itself.
- It’s worth speaking to the officials that you are trying to influence beforehand, as sometimes even the prospect of a demonstration may be enough to influence their decision-making.
- It’s a good idea to do a risk assessment before your event. You can use our template for this.
- We recommend contacting your local media outlets about your demonstration. They are likely to be interested in attending and their coverage can help to spread the word about your campaign.
If you don’t fancy the thought of a physical demonstration, why not try getting your message across in a gentler way using craft. Craftivism can be a great way to bring like-minded people together and to raise awareness of your issue in a creative way.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to make a change using your crafting skills, take a look at the craftivist collective.
In 2020, during the early stages of the covid pandemic, we asked our campaigners to put their craftivist hats on to highlight the problems of opaque face masks for deaf children and young people. We put together a blog with instructions on how to make a transparent face mask, and asked people to sew a clear mask for their local MP.
It was great to see so many of our campaigners and local deaf children’s societies getting involved with this – and even better was the response from MPs. A number of MPs posted a picture of themselves wearing the clear mask on social media, and many more shared our deaf awareness tips as a result.
Spread the word about your campaign on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you’d like advice on how to get your campaign in the paper, on the radio, or on television, just get in touch.
The Equality Act 2010 applies in England, Scotland and Wales and sets out a wide range of important legal rights for disabled children and their families.
Under the Equality Act your child has the right not to be discriminated against because of their deafness. Under the Act, public services (such as schools, nurseries or health services) are also expected to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to how they do things to make sure that deaf children can get involved.
In Northern Ireland different laws apply. These are the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005.
There is lots more information on our website about the Equality Act and understanding your rights.
If a proposal by a public body threatens to discriminate against your deaf child because of their disability – or does not provide adequate support for your child to achieve to the same level as a hearing child – you may be able to take legal action against them.
If you’re thinking about taking legal action for your campaign, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to talk this through and put you in touch with our in-house legal advisor.