BEDALE is set to become only the second town in Britain to adopt a special sign language to help children and adults overcome communication problems.

Bedale Town Councillors were asked to back the campaign to make it a Makaton Friendly Town.

They agreed to lead the way by becoming the first organisation in the community to sign up.

They’re now looking for 19 other groups who will pay £50 each to be part of the scheme.

They were persuaded by Karen Pickles, the deputy head of the town’s Mowbray School, which uses Makaton, a special sign and speech language programme within the specialist school which does a lot of work with youngsters with learning difficulties.

Ms Pickle said: "There is only one other Makaton Friendly Town in the country and it is my ambition that Bedale will be the second.

"I want to enable young people and adults with communication difficulties to be understood and able to communicate within all areas of their community.

"For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help.

"It takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them.

"But in order for a Makaton user to communicate effectively, the community needs to know the basic signs to effectively interact with Makaton users."

Over 100,000 children and adults use Makaton symbols and signs. Most people start using it as children then naturally stop using the signs and symbols as they no longer need them.

However, some people will need to use Makaton for their whole lives.

Ms Pickle said: "I believe it would really put Bedale on the map.

"It would mean a small amount of training to get the basic signs and then people nominated by each organisation could feed it down.

"But we would have a familiarity which would mean people in Bedale would be welcoming and inclusive to anyone with difficulties, this would mean a lot."

Councillor Amanda Coates offered to help contact other organisations as part of the drive to get £1,000 overall to pay for 20 groups to do training and join up. Mayor Andrew Hallett said they would support the group in whatever way they could and Cllr John Noone proposed Bedale Town Council became the first organisation to pledge support. Contact