The ALLIANCE has published a report to inform the next See Hear Strategy.

The ALLIANCE recently completed a consultation with ethnic minority people on behalf of the Scottish Government to inform the new See Hear Strategy. The findings of that research are now available in a report.

The See Hear Strategy is the Scottish Government and COSLA strategy which shows their commitment to supporting children and adults who have Deafness, Deafblindness and Visual Impairment to access the support and social care they need. The current strategy was published in 2014 as a long term approach. Now after 10 years a new version is being written.

The consultation was a small-scale mixed methods research study that drew on material from a national online survey, and one focus group with ethnic minority people with lived experience of Deafness, Deafblindness, and Visual Impairments.

Participants highlighted a lack of inclusive communication practices and provided examples of barriers experienced in accessing care and support.

People discussed the varied impact of stigma and discrimination, particularly across the intersections of age, disability and ethnicity. Recommendations to reduce cultural stigma and discrimination included mandatory sensory and cultural awareness training for public sector staff, as well as interventions to inform people from ethnic minorities about their legal rights, such as the Equality Act 2010.

The vital importance of community hubs featured highly during the consultation. Participants suggested that when making funding decisions about services that support ethnic minority people, local authorities and the Scottish Government should perform a long term cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial impact on the NHS resulting from poorer health outcomes. Such an analysis should also include an assessment of the equalities and human rights impacts of decision-making, including the intersectionalities of ethnicity and disability.

Participants spoke in detail about the need for ethnic minority people to be meaningfully involved in co-production of solutions, with effective feedback loops and opportunities for ongoing influence on decision-making – not simply consultation.

Key quotes outlining the need to prioritise the lived experience of ethnic minority people are as follows:

“We have had so many consultation sessions, so many meetings […]But I don’t know where that information goes. It needs to be improved.”

“There’s so much research on community gatherings, that meeting people and going outdoors is more impactful than medicine. When they close those options to get together […] we end up going to the doctor and using more money and more services than we would if we had community services.”

Discrimination and ignorance are widespread even among those who have our wellbeing at heart.”

Based on the consultation findings, the ALLIANCE has published a report containing reflections and recommendations for potential areas of action. These are also informed by our wider work in this area.

If you have any questions about the research, please email the Scottish Sensory Hub team at

A full version of the report are available in Word and PDF formats at the links below.

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