Alfreton PCSO learns Makaton as part of school’s community campaign

PCSO Louise Richards with students and staff at Alfreton Park School, signing 'How are you?' in Makaton.
PCSO Louise Richards with students and staff at Alfreton Park School, signing 'How are you?' in Makaton.

An Alfreton Police Police Community Support Officer has become the latest recruit to a school’s campaign to make the town Makaton friendly.

PCSO Louise Richards has been working with Alfreton Park Community Special School, which recently began work to make it the first community in the Midlands to gain Makaton friendly status.

As well as learning to understand and speak using the simplified form of sign language, PCSO Richards has been doing her bit to teach other community members basic words and phrases.

She said: “I’m really pleased to be part of this fantastic initiative which gives deaf young people and others in the community the opportunity to communicate directly with me, and to be able to build a good relationship with Makaton signers and offer support if they need it.”

Louise is also part of the Derbyshire Police Link Officers for the Deaf (PLOD) scheme, made up of officers and staff who have received training in deaf awareness and are skilled in the use of British Sign Language.

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols in spoken word order to help people to communicate.

It is designed to support spoken language and allows children and adults to communicate straight away.

The school is offering training to anyone in the community who is interested, and 10 local shops and organisations have signed up so far.

Once 30 have come on board, Alfreton will become the first Makaton friendly town in the region, and only the third in the country.

Lousie said:“It would be great if the school achieves its aim, and I would encourage everyone to get along.

“Anyone can learn Makaton. All they need do is pop in to some of the local shops and businesses, contact the school, or even speak to me when I’m out and about and I can try and get you started.”

For more details, call 01773 832019 or write to

Learn more about the work of the Derbyshire PLOD team at