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Women Entrepreneur Award 2023

Rachel Hubbard

United Kingdom

Deaf umbrella ltd

As a specialist employment business, we exclusively cater to the needs of Deaf individuals. Our services encompass comprehensive information and training on deaf issues, deaf culture, and British Sign Language.



Health & Wellness

About the Winner

Deaf Umbrella, provide cost effective British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter solutions to employers, education providers and anyone who needs to communicate in BSL with their deaf employees, students or clients. We are a specialist employment business who only work with Deaf people. We provide information and training on deaf issues, deaf culture and British Sign Language. We offer short notice interpreter support and provide deaf awareness tutors and British Sign Language trainers.

There are only 519 qualified interpreters in the UK. Therefore Deaf Umbrella are committed to providing specific work based training and development to create the interpreters of tomorrow. We do this through our dedicated training and development of our staff.

Whats our why? Our director Rachel Hubbard is personal. At 13 her mum had a routine ear operation that went horribly wrong, this left her mum profoundly deaf and the whole family had to cope with the changes that envitably happened. Her mum lost her job as a HR executive, she lost her confidence, she struggled to communicate and her mum dissapeared overnight as the person she once knew. The family joined lip reading classes and then embarked on BSL training. Thats when communication started to happen and the family adapted and moulded to a new life together. BSL is a rich, diverse, passionate language that has its own grammar and syntax, regional variations and age related signs. For example, the old sign for a train and the new sign for a train are two very different things, why? because one had wheels driven by a steel pole, whereas new high speed trains are electric. Can you visualise how different that could be in sign? Rachel has a passion for her job and for us.... her staff, its infectious!

• We have come from personal experience of deafness and the difficulties faced by deaf people
• We aim to bridge the gap in the market where there are not enough qualified interpreters in the UK
• We are committed to training and development to create the interpreters of tomorrow and facilitate support to the deaf community
• We work with the deaf community to learn about the challenges they face and work with partnership organisations to drive solutions
• Our dedication to Lifelong Learning and training has seen grow our team of staff steadily and progressively. We partnership with Greenwich University for an academic level 4 training course for Language Service Professionals. Along with this we partnership the Skills Funding Pledge to provide safeguarding training and safer recruitment practices. We believe this instils confidence, credibility and value to our target audience
• Our monitoring, mentoring, feedback and client liaison helps us reach our customers, acquire and keep our customers too. Feedback is so important for us, we are often an unwanted party to interactions needing communication support, if everyone knew BSL there would be no need for us. However we have to ensure we act with sensitivity and tact, integrity and self discipline, objectivity, responsibility and sound judgement. The work we do is so much more than language alone
• We differ from our competition because we challenge current obstacles; we do that through social media interaction, information giving through our newsletters, blogs, meme's, debate, survey and liaison with public bodies and partnership organisations. We also reinvest profits to provide an online job club for Deaf people and an apprenticeship service. Our commitment to the community is embedded in our company ethos
• Deaf Umbrella understand the payment process, we support clients understanding of the Government fund ‘Access to Work’ and Student Finance England ‘Disabled Student Allowance’. We maintain extensive records, budget analyse and report on cost implications and budgetary constraints


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