Vandu Language Services serving Sussex communities for 15 years

Sunday, 31/12/2028

This year at Vandu Language Services, we proudly celebrated fifteen years in serving Sussex communities through public sector and voluntary groups. A clear theme that emerged from the assembled list of speakers was that Sussex has come a long way in the provision of community support, inclusivity and access to services for everyone in our region.

Reflecting on just some of the changes that have come about was Barbara Harris, Head of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals. She was joined by Pete Dommett, Prevent Lead with Sussex Police, and Duncan Campbell, a former Manager from Children’s Services, now working as an advocate for young people.

Speaking about a case he is currently working on, Ducan told us: “This is what we are here for. We’re here to try and understand from two people what it is that they have experienced and what they want to do about it.”

Using language to help empower those who feel powerless and isolated is something Vandu want to continue doing for many years to come.

Addressing this with essence was Mebrak Ghebreweldi, VLS Director, giving an open experience of her journey from her native Eritrea, through communications training with the freedom fighting forces in her country to the birth of Vandu Language Services in 1999 in the UK.

Mebrak has always expressed her passion in the ability of language to empower people to reach their potential. She is committed to helping individuals follow their dreams, integrate into society and become valuable members of their communities.

Our impressive list of speakers kindly took time out of their busy schedules to share the successes we have enjoyed since 1999 and to close the conference we had the opportunity to listen to the perspectives from two much admired, senior professionals, Damian Brady, Chief Executive of the national advocacy organisation POhWER, and Keith Hinkley, Director of Adult Social Care and Health East Sussex.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and helped to celebrate this very special event particularly conference chair, Monica Ray, from Eastbourne Borough Council, a key local figure in community relations and lead for the council's Race and Disability Equality schemes who provided the venue. We are indebted to Eastbourne Borough Council who have supported Vandu for many years.