A YOUNG deaf sign language user at the start of a new career as a photographer proved a big hit when he was given the chance to snap pictures in a big Gloucestershire firm.

More than 55 business people visited Garrie Martin and his colleagues at a stand in Cheltenham's Eagle Tower, and 15 had a photograph taken for free as part of a special promotion.

Garrie is just one of several deaf sign language users being helped by charity Gloucestershire Deaf Association under its ‘Mutton Jeffrey’ project.

The aim of the project is to showcase the skills deaf people can offer, by providing communication support from the charity for the deaf entrepreneurs and their customers.

GDA chief executive Jenny Hopkins said the reservation a deaf sign language user feels when having to communicate with a hearing, non-sign language user, and vice versa, needs to be addressed especially in the business world.

"We do this by GDA providing a communications bridge for both sides, making phone calls, using new technology to communicate in sign language with the deaf entrepreneur on behalf of the customer, and handling promptly and positively any issues that might arise during the work," she said.

"We are enormously proud of what we are achieving around deaf employment in Gloucestershire and, with Mutton Jeffrey, we believe we are launching a scheme that could be duplicated by other deaf charities for deaf sign language users elsewhere around the country.

"Deaf people want to succeed. We have found a way to make that happen."

Garrie is just one of the young business people to have been helped create a business folder that explains what he does, his prices, and sets out his skills and tips for customers on how best to communicate with him either directly or through GDA.

To find out more contact 01452 372999.