DOZENS of Romsey businesses are now learning Makaton to make the market town more accessible for disabled customers.

Since the initial launch of the Advertiser-backed bid to make Romsey the first Makaton Friendly Town in the UK, a lot of interest and discussion has been generated within the community.

Now a further call has been made for more local businesses to put themselves forward to learn the language.

Makaton uses symbols to help people to communicate and is designed to support spoken language and the natural gestures used with speech. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying.

For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Bosses at the Makaton charity say accreditation will be given to the town if 30 businesses in Romsey can learn 20 signs or symbols which they can then use to communicate with.

Hannah Anderson, Makaton regional tutor at Speaking Space, Alma Road, said: “I am thrilled with the initial response and support from local businesses, schools and people of Romsey.

“As it is still early days of the project, we haven’t yet generated enough interest to become a Makaton Friendly Town yet.”

To become Makaton Friendly organisations will need to attend a taster session and begin to use signs and symbols within their setting. Once this is established Hannah can nominate the business through Makaton to become Makaton Friendly.

Companies in the town have already put their name down to be involved including Waitrose, Lloyds Bank, The Rapids and members of the Romsey Chamber of Commerce.

Alex Kelly ltd, which runs Speaking Space, has offered to run free two-hour taster sessions for interested businesses, which is enough time to learn the 20 symbols. Each business will also have a Makaton card, which displays a number of symbols, that can be used to aid communication further.

If you wish to attend these sessions contact Hannah at or phone 023 8098 7134.