On Wednesday 20th March the Transition group attended a Public consultation meeting about the future of the Telecommunications Relay Service at the Crown Plaza in Central Christchurch.
This meeting was an opportunity for members of the Deaf community and other people who use the service to talk about how they feel about it before the contract for services run out and is put out for tender.
We focussed on 3 big questions:Availability of the service
Most people wanted it to be open for more hours and over the weekend.
Need to have more Interpreters available.
Queuing service so you can see when your turn will be.Accessibility of the service
Make mobile to mobile calls cheaper or free (at the moment you need to have a calling card), many people are not using landlines anymore therefore more calls are to mobiles.
If you are out of data you are unable to use the service, would be useful to be able to access from anywhere (thinking about a car breakdown and need to call a tow truck).
Slow Wi-Fi can cause the video service to freeze interrupting your call.
Hearing people are unfamiliar with it, needs more publicity in the mainstream.Affordability of the service:
We also learnt that the Relay Service offer another service called TEXMEE that is widely used by people in Auckland. This is an App that can be downloaded for free and allows you to text to the Relay Service, who then call the business and relay your message.
We were very proud to see the group standing up for themselves and the Deaf Community. They took turns talking about how they use the service, changes they would like to see being made and the results of the survey they had sent around the van Asch staff.
We can see this group becoming strong young advocates for their community.