Canterbury: Makaton Friendly city?

Stephen King
2nd April 2019


“Canterbury is setting a world leading example - breaking down social, communication, inclusion and equality barriers - by attempting to become the very first Makaton Friendly city anywhere in the world!”

Canterbury is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Romsey, which became the first Makaton Friendly town in the world in February 2018. Canterbury wants to become the first Makaton Friendly city in the world, by May 2020! To achieve this 40 Canterbury organisations need to become Makaton Friendly.

Becoming Makaton Friendly will strengthen community ties, increases business potential, and provides great publicity.

We will gain recognition from our community that organisations want to go the extra mile to support disabled people (already part of the community but) enabling them to be a full part of their community and boosting their self-esteem. After all, it’s not only about understanding, it’s also about being understood!

To be a part of this initiative all a potential centre needs to do is register with the scheme (paying a small fee) and then attend a Makaton Taster session, where they will taught 30 – 40 signs and symbols that are relevant to the particular organisations concerned – shops, cafes, nursery and pre-schools, schools (primary and secondary), churches, brownie / scout groups, the local colleges & universities, and public buildings e.g. libraries, museums and theatres.

The organisations will then display a few of the symbols they have been given around their building and use the signs they have learnt. All places that are part of the scheme will then receive a Makaton Friendly pack and a place on the national Makaton Friendly map on the charity’s website.

Our plans do not end there though, we want to make Kent the first Makaton Friendly county in the world – opening up our local area with each town (and the organisations within them) being able to welcome and include members of our community with language, social, communication and learning disabilities who use Makaton signing and symbols – by May 2022!

We have an official press launch taking place at 6pm on Tuesday 18th June 2019 where St. Nicholas School and Canterbury Christchurch University will be awarded with their Makaton Friendly Status Awards, the first two organisations that have successfully joined the scheme, and we have interest from many public organisations and community groups who are already registering with us, to take part.

Out and about

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