CASE STUDY: The School of Sign Language

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Their story

Debra Cartlidge began losing her hearing when she was five years old. To begin with she not only struggled to hear what was going on at school, but also found it hard to admit that she couldn’t hear. “Having all that negativity going on in my life growing up”, Debra tells us, “being told I was fit for nothing and never going to achieve anything, I just feel that I’m in a position now to pass on my experiences but put it in a positive way”.

And that’s exactly what she’s done. Debra set up the The School of Sign Language sixteen years ago and that has expanded and recently grown into the Deaf Hub as well.


The School of Sign Language has grown over the years and last year they were able to expand further. They created a Deaf Hub and set up as an independent school to offer residential care to deaf people. Now they’re going one step further by renovating a building to become a post-16 specialist institution, with a residential option for over-18s. They’re using it to bridge the gap between deaf and hearing students in education to offer different pathways to adulthood.

When Debra realised she’d need more cash to complete the works, she turned to her broker, who introduced her to MarketFinance for an RLS loan. The fast process was a huge bonus for Debra, who, like all business owners, doesn’t have much time. According to her, “it was such an easy process. I am so busy and I’ve just got to get things done really quickly”.

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