Making a Difference
Hayley Walker, director of travel agency Holiday Hamster in Ripponden, started working as a volunteer for disabled children’s charity Caudwell Children in 2012, taking children with life-threatening illnesses to Walt Disney World Orlando as part of its Destination Dreams concept.
“On my first trip I realised a lot of the children were non-verbal, so when I got back home I signed up to a Level One course at Calderdale College.” says Walker.
She went on to complete the Level Two course and explains that learning sign language has been “enjoyable and a great way to communicate with the kids”.
Walker recommends that other agents learn sign language too: “Even just start learning the alphabet is a start. If I don’t know a word, I’ll usually just finger spell it and the kids will show me the correct sign.”
She adds: “You never know if someone with a hearing impairment will come into your shop, and people who are deaf or hearing impaired are really appreciative when they realise that you’ve learned to sign.”