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Prestige Network Making History in Parliament

30 October 2009

The ground-breaking move comes as the UK Youth Parliament makes history today, Friday 30 October - it is the first time in 300 years that anyone other than MPs has been allowed to speak from the House of Commons.

Berkshire-based language services provider Prestige Network Ltd played their part by providing two British Sign Language/English interpreters (BSL) for the series of UK Youth Parliament debates. The provision of two British Sign Language interpreters has helped oil the wheels of democracy for the 11 to 18-year-old elected Members of Youth Parliament taking up the seats in the Houses of Parliament normally occupied by MPs.

The signers were based in the Chamber itself, in a key position in view of the elected members. There were over 300 young people present from all across the UK, debating five issues that have been chosen by an internet poll as the most important for young people today: free university education; youth crime and how to tackle it; free transport for over 60s (but not for young people); capitalism, the economy and job opportunities for young people; lowering the voting age to 16.

Chris Barnes, Head of Public Sector Sales at Prestige Network, said: "We are very proud that Prestige Network has played a key role in the democratic process by providing two British Sign Language/English interpreters. The House of Commons Overseas Office placed the order with us on Tuesday, just two clear days away from the occasion itself. They were pleased that we were able to help out - they had approached several organisations, but we managed to find people for them within 15 minutes.

"The use of British Sign Language/English interpreters today (Friday 30 October) was essential in order to engage all young people - enabling every single one of them to integrate into the debates and not to feel disenfranchised. Cultural and language divisions in communities can be a big problem so it is satisfying to be involved in such projects."

Prestige Network can be contacted on 01635 866888


Note to editors:

Chris Barnes, from Prestige Network, is available for radio interviews. Please call Susan Tolman on 01635 866888 to arrange.

  • Company overview: 25 staff, +5,000 linguists, +1,000 clients, four offices nationally - Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Thatcham (Head Office).
  • Formed in 1991, Prestige Network is a special language services provider based in Thatcham, Berkshire.
  • Prestige Network provides a full UK wide service in all languages.
  • It can cater for all language and communications needs in the public sector, including central and local government departments, the NHS, charities, the police and other public organisations.
  • Prestige Network was recently recognised in the Thames Valley Small Business Award 2008

For more information, contact Susan Tolman (PR Consultant) at Prestige Network on 01635 866888.