A Helensburgh mum who organised a weekend event to let people try sign language says she has been amazed by its success.

Amy Powell has been overwhelmed by the positive comments made by participants who attended the two-day event in the Civic Centre.

The British Sign Language (BSL) taster sessions were led by Wayne Barrow, a high profile campaigner from Solihull who wants to get BSL onto the National Curriculum in England.

Eighty-one people attended the sessions, the first of their kind in Helensburgh and Lomond, with ages ranging from five to 70.

Amy is delighted that many professionals attended, including primary school and nursery teachers, a trainee teacher of the deaf, ambulance staff, nurses, additional needs support staff, child minders and carers.

Also in attendance were parents, grand parents, dance teachers, and primary and high school children.

Buoyed by the success of the weekend, Amy is now pressing ahead with her own hopes of having BSL taught in schools in Scotland and she is to seek support from Argyll and Bute Council in getting classes set up in Helensburgh.

The 37-year-old single mum said: "I have always been interested in the special challenges people face when they can't talk or communicate.

"I pushed myself to learn level one BSL. I was self-funded to do this and had to travel to Glasgow, but I loved it."

Amy said it was wrong to think that sign language was only for people with hearing disabilities.

She said: "Sign language, which is a language in its own right, has a place in society.

"Everyone can communicate on some level but sign language gives that extra dimension. It's about awareness and making people feel included. And it's certainly not as scary as some people think it is.

"Even babies at six months can be shown how to communicate certain simple words through signing."

Amy, a self-employed child minder, believes trainee teachers at university should be trained in BSL level one and that it should either replace French on the school curriculum or be included in the 1 + 2 approach to language learning.

This is aimed at ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn a modern language from P1 until the end of the broad general education.

Amy said: "For many young people there is a greater chance of them using sign language than going abroad and speaking French.

"They could find themselves in situations when sign language is particularly useful."

Now Amy has signed up for an SQA level 2 course in BSL and may arrange a return visit by Wayne.

She said: "I am not an expert, I am just a mum who wanting to raise awareness of sign language and how it can enhance so many people's lives throughout a modern day society.

"Learning the skill can be educational and fun as well."