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Sign Language Interpreting Services

We provide access to services for deaf residents such as British Sign Language interpreting, videophone interpreting and advice about getting help in the borough.

Book a Sign Language interpreter by email or use the following numbers:

  • Tel: 020 7527 3962
  • SMS (text messaging): 07860 025 025
  • Facetime (Apple devices only)
  • Skype: Search for Islington Sign Language

Services for deaf people

Islington Council

Sign language interpreters can interpret for you in the following places and situations:

  • Social Services (such as appointments with social workers)
  • Housing (such as appointments with housing officers to talk about rent arrears or repairs)
  • Schools (for example at parent-teacher meetings)
  • Council Tax/Housing Benefit meetings
  • Consultation meetings

NHS Islington

Sign language interpreters can interpret for you at the following:

  • GP appointments
  • Health centres
  • NHS optometrists (such as for eye tests)
  • NHS dentists
  • Various other health appointments

Other local service providers

Sign language interpreters are also available to help you if you need to attend the following:

  • Whittington Hospital
  • Islington Housing Associations
  • Meetings with Islington Members of Parliament

How to book a BSL interpreter

If you would like to book a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, you need to give us adequate notice and send us some information.

British Sign Language interpreters work Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm. If you need an interpreter outside of these hours, you will need to give us advance notice.

There is a high demand for interpreters so please give us as much notice as possible, preferably 2-4 weeks, before you need an interpreter. However, interpreters may be available at shorter notice; please contact us to check.

Priority is given to bookings where the interpreter is needed for Child and Adult Protection investigations, Mental Health assessments, urgent Mental Health assessments and homelessness issues.

Information needed to make a booking

You will need to provide us with the following information when booking a BSL interpreter:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The date, time and duration of the appointment or meeting (please note that the interpreter may not be able to stay beyond the allocated time, due to other interpreting commitments)
  • The nature of the appointment or meeting, with any background information that might be helpful
  • The full address of the venue
  • Any relevant paperwork that would be helpful for the interpreter such as an agenda, minutes of previous meetings, or copies of notes. This information should be sent to the interpreter at least one week prior to the booking, where possible
  • Where the assignment involves the use of any jargon or technical language, which the interpreter may not be familiar with, please provide the interpreter with information prior to the booking taking place

Contact us to book a BSL interpreter

If you wish to book a Sign Language interpreter, please contact us via email at interpreter.signlanguage@islington.gov.uk or use the following numbers:

Tel: 020 7527 3962
SMS (text messaging): 07860 025 025
Fax: 020 7527 3275

Click here to video call us. You will need to download the SignVideo app before you use it.

You can also write to us at: Sign Language Interpreting Service, First Floor, 222 Upper Street, London, N1 1XR.

Using videophone interpreting services

Because there is a shortage of qualified British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, we have set up videophone interpreting services. 

Videophone technology allows BSL interpreters to work remotely by videophone rather than travelling to a venue.

This is a more efficient use of interpreting resources. It provides a valuable service for short notice requests. Videophone interpreting is intended for short one-to-one meetings or appointments of up to 30 minutes. It is not appropriate to use videophone interpreting for serious or complex situations, where a face-to-face interpreter should be used.

We offer access to videophone BSL interpreting at the following locations and services:

Contact us about videophone interpreting

Our Customer Centre has a videophone interpreting service at 222 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1XR.

You can contact us by email on contactislington@islington.gov.uk or by using the following numbers:

Minicom: 020 7527 1900
Fax: 020 7527 5001

Registrar's Office

The Registrar’s Office records all births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships, and offers a citizenship and nationality checking service. Video interpreting can be used for all of our services except marriages, civil partnerships and citizenship ceremonies, which still require meeting an interpreter in person.

Please let the Registrar's Office know in advance if you require the videophone interpreting service so we can ensure that you are booked into the correct room.

You can email us at registrars@islington.gov.uk or you can contact us using the following numbers:

Telephone: 020 7527 6350
Fax: 020 7257 6308

Housing Aid Centre

Our Housing Aid Centre offers assessment and advice to people in the borough who have a housing problem or are homeless.

The centre provides a videophone interpreting service for BSL users. If you need an appointment at the Housing Aid Centre and would like to use the videophone, you can contact us by email on contactislington@islington.gov.uk or by using the following numbers:

Minicom: 020 7527 1900
Fax: 020 7527 5001

Comparison of BSL interpreting: face to face and by video


Face to face Sign Language Interpreting Service 

BSL Video Interpreting Service 

Can the interpreting service be used for routine scheduled appointments?



Can the service be used for urgent or very short appointments?

Yes (if interpreters are available)

Yes (if interpreters are available) 

Service opening times

9am - 5pm
The service is available outside of these times with advance notice.

9am - 5pm

Does the service need to be booked in advance?


Where can the service be used? 

All Islington council departments.

All primary care services within Islington (such as GPs, dentists, opticians).

Community-based health appointments within Islington (such as physiotherapy, podiatry, speech and language therapy, nutrition and dietetics) .

Other local service providers within Islington and surrounding areas.
The council has videophone interpreting units in the following services:

Housing Aid
222 Upper St, N1 1XR.

Islington Customer Centre
222 Upper St, N1 1XR.

Islington Registrar’s Office
Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1 1XU.

Sensory Team
4 Vorley Rd, N19.
Are there other BSL interpreting services available in Islington?
Yes, there are video interpreting units in 3 GP practices in Islington:

Islington Central Medical Centre Laycock St, N1.

The Group Practice, River Place Health Centre
Essex Rd, N1.

The Village Practice
Isledon Rd, N7 

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