A RURAL estate agent is thought to be the first in the country to offer a signing service for deaf clients.
Hills and Dales Properties is based in Hartington and is run by Linda Mycock who has more than 30 years experience in the property industry including estate agency, and residential conveyancing.
Mrs Mycock launched the business in May 2012 and is now offering the services of a BSL Level Four NVQ communication specialist to help deaf clients searching for homes in the area.
She said: “I am a small estate agent, I work from home near Hartington very successfully.
“Recently I sold a property to a young deaf couple both deaf from birth.
“I also recently sold a property for another deaf couple.
“It made me realise that there are no estate agents in the area who offer services for deaf clients and lets face it it’s hard enough to sell and buy property when you can hear.
“I now offer the services of a BSL signer to all deaf clients and I am in the process of applying a video to my website.
“The video is being done in sign language.”
She added: “We welcome deaf clients and I now need to let people know that we are offering the service.”
Hills and Dales Properties is an independent family business and specialises in the sale of property in the Staffordshire and Derbyshire area.
To assist deaf clients, Mrs Mycock has engaged the services of Derby-based sign language specialist Rachel Lowndes, who runs her own company Sign Me Up.
Ms Lowndes has NVQ Level 4 BSL Language, a BTEC professional development certificate in communication support and a Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People certificate in communication and guiding skills with deaf blind people.
She also has a certificate in education and BA joint honours degree in education studies with applied studies.
The move to incorporate facilities for deaf people into the business has been welcomed by the British Deaf Association and is also thought to be a UK first.
Paul Redfern, business development manager for the BDA, said: “This is a really positive move that the BDA fully supports.
“Linda is complying with the spirit of the Equality Act with this initiative.”
More information about Hills and Dales Properties, is available online at www.hillsanddalesproperties.co.uk or by telephoning 0845 8350589 or 07974 960544.
Mrs Mycock is offering the signer service free of charge but is asking clients to book in advance.