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Hedsor House, the award-winning country house events venue in Buckinghamshire, has created the UK's first signed wedding video tour so that deaf couples can have the same equal and inclusive experience that hearing couples have. The video has been released as part of a range of steps the venue is taking to increase its accessibility and forms part of its commitment to inclusivity.
The venue has hosted several weddings where either guests or the couple themselves have been deaf and this prompted the team to look at how they could improve their inclusivity in this community. The video, which allows a couple to virtually tour the house in preparation for their wedding, was created with the support of one of its grooms, Alim Jadavji, who recently married there.
Alim says, "I am thrilled Hedsor House is the first wedding venue in the country to make their tour guide accessible. Being hard of hearing myself with a profoundly deaf family, it was so important that whatever venue I chose to have my wedding at, they understood what my niche requirements were and were open to becoming more accessible. This didn't feel like a tick box exercise, but rather an instinctive and natural progression to be the best venue they can be and be accessible to as many people as possible. I am so excited that deaf people will finally be able to enquire about booking Hedsor House and have this accessible option to understand the history, layout and opportunities of the house. I am also thrilled to have been a part of making it happen."
Hedsor has developed new working relationships with qualified celebrants. Registered NRCPD British Sign Language interpreters, including Martin Fox-Roberts from Proud Fox Ceremonies, can officiate ceremonies for Deaf couples or CODAS (Children of Deaf Adults) at Hedsor, in their first language, without an interpreter. They can also provide BSL interpreting services for wedding ceremonies.
Last year the venue started supporting local charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People through the launch of its Canine Concierge services for wedding couples. Hedsor donates to the charity for every dog-friendly wedding it hosts and also sponsors a puppy in training. Some of the team will be attending a forthcoming Hearing Dogs Open Day to learn more about their work. https://www.hedsor.com/canine-concierge
Jo Wengler, head of major giving at Hearing Dogs, says: "A dog is a huge part of the family so it's only natural for people to want to include them on their big day. We love how Hedsor House recognises this and goes above and beyond to welcome dogs to their gorgeous venue, and to make them feel happy and comfortable. We are delighted to be partnering with Hedsor: their support will help us to train more amazing hearing dogs that will change the lives of Deaf people."
The venue is also planning to work with Deaf Signs (https://deafsigns.co.uk) to educate its staff and teach them how to communicate with the deaf community. The course begins with basic signing, in order for staff to be able to welcome guests and make them feel at home, and will develop further.
In conclusion, Mark Shephard, managing director of Hedsor House says, "At Hedsor we strive to lead the way in terms of what we offer, aiming to go above and beyond people's expectations of us. We are proud of our track record, setting new industry standards as a leading wedding and events venue, and we hope to continue to raise the bar, making all the necessary changes, and much more, to ensure the deaf community feel as welcome as possible at Hedsor. It was a huge pleasure and a great learning experience to create the video with Alim and host his wedding here not long ago."
To find out more and to book a wedding at the property, visit https://www.hedsor.com
Image courtesy of www.gettyimages.co.uk