BENDIGO Bank’s Mitchell Street branch is officially communication friendly.
The branch is the first business in the region to be awarded a Communication Access Symbol by Bendigo Health in collaboration with Scope.
The award recognises businesses and services that have completed a Communication Access Assessment and demonstrate an ability to engage with people who have communication difficulties and who communicate in different ways, other than speech.
Bendigo Health senior speech pathologist Dr Barbara Solarsh said she hopes other businesses will now join the program, which was launched in 2011.
“The commitment shown by Bendigo Bank of providing a communication accessible service will hopefully lead other local businesses to take the same initiative,” she said.
“Communication is a fundamental human right.
“Everyone has the right to access community services such as banks and medical services and we are targeting these particular areas.
“Our aim is to support as many businesses as possible to become communication accessible.
“The challenge is to extend the program outside of Victoria and we are keen to partner with Bendigo Bank to make this a national program.
“Staff need training as they generally do not have a lot of exposure to people with communication disabilities. This group are often the most marginalised so we need to put standards in place.
“This symbol will help community members identify places and services that are communication accessible.
“It will give people with communication difficulties confidence that they will be treated with respect and as valued customers when using these services.”
Bendigo Bank state manager Vicki Pearce said the training staff had received would give them confidence to effectively communicate with all customers.
“As a local community organisation and business we are proud to be the first in Bendigo to not only undergo this training but to proudly display that we are ‘communication friendly’,” she said.