A FAMILY-run coffee shop and bar in Bromsgrove is piloting a unique sign language app - thought the be the first in the country.

Bayleys of Bromsgrove, on Worcester Road, has teamed up with Alvechurch-based Sign Solutions which provide the InterpretersLive! app to improve accessibility for deaf customers when visiting the shop.

InterpretersLive! enables deaf and hearing people to communicate with each-other by delivering immediate access to online interpreting for deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users.

Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, deaf people can make a video call to a fully qualified and registered BSL interpreter.

The interpreter will then phone a person or organisation, relaying the conversation or, interpret via a webcam for a face-to-face meeting.

The system, which runs through the shop's till system, enables customers to communicate with an interpreter using sign language on camera.

The interpreter then vocalises the order to the staff member, ensuring the correct product is ordered.

Jack Bayley, director of Bayleys of Bromsgrove, said “We’ve already had customers requesting to use the software. It is really easy to use and has really helped the order process. The customers have been really happy with their experience."

Bromsgrove Council is funding the special pilot set-up fee of up to £1,500, for a 12 month trial.

It means retailers just pay for the cost of a video call.

Clare Vale, from Sign Solutions, said: “Making communication for deaf people accessible on the high street is no longer the sole province of banks and building societies.

“We are finding that there is an increasing awareness from major retailers and independents who want to ensure there is a level playing field for all of their customers to find out about and access their products and services."

She added: "I am delighted that this has been picked up by Bromsgrove District Council as it will be a huge benefit to the town.”