Giving Voice

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Exciting Events!

My new job is keeping me busy so it’s taken me longer than anticipated to update my blog! It’s been an exciting and busy few weeks, at the end of March I went to see The Magenta Singers perform at Newcastle University with Voice of the Town.
The Magenta Singers are a choir in association with the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA) and the Sage, Gateshead. This was an enjoyable night and the choir were very inspirational. The members of NETA all have Aphasia, which can affect all aspects of communication (talking, listening, reading and writing). The Magenta Singers, may find communication difficult, but they sing with passion and enthusiasm!

On my way into the event I left some Giving Voice leaflets on the table, and was excited to see that there was only one left on my way out!
You may know that I am training for the Great North Run to raise money for NETA! Whenever I have a difficult run (which can be quite often!) and question why I ever even decided to start running, I think about the inspirational members of NETA and the choir; and it all becomes worthwhile! If you would like to follow my journey to the Great North Run you can find my running blog here ( If you would like to contribute to my fundraising and help support the valuable work of NETA my Just Giving page can be found here (
I am excited to announce that I am arranging another fundraising night starring Lost Voice Guy on Saturday 7th June at Ashington Football Club. It’s been almost two years since he made us all laugh in Ashington and he is back by popular demand! The night is sure to be fun, and as well as raising funds for NETA, I will also be raising awareness of Speech and Language Therapy, Giving Voice and the Intenational Communication Project 2014. I have invited local MP, Ian Lavery, and hope that he is able to attend.

If you would like further information about the event I have a facebook group which can be found here . Tickets can be bought through me (contact me direct) or through the box office (booking fee applies)


Friday, 28 March 2014

Champ Camp 2014

It’s been a while since I updated this! I just don’t know where the time goes sometimes! Earlier this month I attended the Giving Voice Innovation Group (GIG) residential event in London. This was the second of these events and was inspirational talking to lots of enthusiastic Speech and Language Therapists.

One of the activities at this event was to write a postcard to ourselves with 3 things we plan to do. This was then posted back to us a few weeks later to remind us of the pledges we made to ourselves and the campaign. Mine arrived in the post last week and one of the promises I made to myself was to update this blog at least once a month. As it’s almost the end of March, I decided I had better get a wiggle on to write an update.

I started a new job on Monday and this is going to involve a lot of travelling but hopefully I will find time to blog at least once a month. I’ve just started planning an event for June (watch this space)!

The Giving Voice residential, affectionately named #champcamp, was a good opportunity to get together and discuss Giving Voice ideas. This year is also the International Communication Project 2014 so this is another great reason to get involved and celebrate communication and speech and language therapy. If you haven’t already signed the pledge, why not take a look now, and show your support (Communication is a basic human right). You can find the pledge on 

We arrived in London on the Friday night and received a Giving Voice update after dinner. The Saturday was then filled with lots of activities including a role play talking to a chief executive of the NHS. This was a good opportunity to put our skills into practice.

Here’s a picture of us (unfortunately, not all the GIG members were able to attend L). Please feel free to get in touch with any of us – our details can be found on the Giving Voice Innovation Group page of the RCSLT website.
I promise I won’t leave it so long until I write again (if I do feel free to give me a nudge!) Wishing you all a happy weekend! Tonight I am off to see The Magenta Singers perform in Newcastle. This is a choir of talented singers who also have Aphasia. I've seen them sing before, and boy can they sing! It is sure to be an inspirational and enjoyable evening. Tickets are available on the door so if you've no plans for tonight why not get yourself there! More information can be found at this facebook event

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

In the media!

As you may know I met with Ian Lavery MP a couple of weeks ago to present him with a Giving Voice calendar as a thank you for his support of the campaign. Following this meeting I emailed the News Post Leader to inform them of the story.

I used the knowledge I gained at the media training in London in November to ensure I covered all the important points of the story and ensure the person reading my email wanted to run the story. I was delighted that they uploaded it online on Monday and printed it in this weeks edition of the Newspaper!

I'm always excited to see Giving Voice in print! Spreading the word one person at a time :-)

To read the story online click here.

If you haven't already got a calander it's not too late! They are half price now and available from the Giving Voice website.  Why not buy one and pass it on to your local MP, councillor or commissioner to remind (or inform) them that Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Lights, Camera, Campaign!

Welcome to my 90th post! When I first started blogging about Giving Voice back in 2011 I didn't know how it would go so I am delighted that I have reached 90 posts and exceeded 21,000 page views! This will be my last post of the year but I hope to reflect on 2013 soon!

You may have heard that RCSLT held a Giving Voice photography competition earlier in the year. The competition was judged by the Countess of Wessex and Arthur Edwards (Royal Photographer for The Sun). RCSLT received 100's of entries and the winning selection have been turned into a 2014 Giving Voice calendar.

I entered 4 photos into this competition and was delighted to hear that 2 of them won! Both of my winning photos were taken in North East England - one was at the Communication Chain on Gateshead Millennium Bridge (to find out more about this event see here) and the other is of me holding a speech bubble next to the Miner Statue where Ellington Colliery once stood.

All of the photos in the calendar are fantastic! I'm looking forward to using mine throughout the year. I wrote to my MP, Ian Lavery to tell him about my photos being selected and asking for a photo opportunity to give him his own copy. I was delighted to get an appointment to visit Mr Lavery in his constituency office on Friday 20th December to present him with a calendar as a thank you for his previous support of Giving Voice.

Mr Lavery was delighted with his calendar, particularly the photo at Ellington, and says he will take it  to use in his office in Westminster! I took the opportunity to remind him of Giving Voice and the value of speech and language therapy. He is hugely supportive of the profession and thinks we do a fantastic job!

I emailed the News Post Leader to tell them about the calendar and my meeting with Mr Lavery and I attached the photo (below). I used my newly acquired knowledge from the media training when thinking about what I wanted to say in my email. I will look out for it in this weeks newspaper.
Me presenting Ian LAVERY, MP with the Giving Voice calendar 

I have also posted a calendar to Councillor Lesley Rickerby (Health and Well Being Board) with a letter reminding her of Giving Voice. (She attended the entertainment evening I held last year).

On my last day at work before Christmas I was talking to a colleague about the meeting I had with my MP and I encouraged her to email her own MP (which she did). She also ordered a calendar to give to him if he agrees to meet up to learn about Giving Voice. She has told me she'll let me know when she hears back!

Why not order a Giving Voice calendar of your own (here) and perhaps give it to your MP or councillor to continue spreading the message that Speech and Language Therapy Transforms lives!

Wishing you all the very best for the New Year!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Media Training

On Saturday 23rd November I was in London with the other members of the Giving Voice Innovation Group for Media training. I travelled to London on the Friday afternoon and met up with Sara and Ruth for a meal. We hadn't met before so this was a nice opportunity to get to know them the night before the media training :) we also had a little look round London after our meal, making the most of our time in the capital.

The training took place in the RCSLT offices and was an enjoyable (albeit challenging) day! The aim of the training was to enable us to be equipped with the skills needed to engage with the media to promote Giving Voice and Speech and Language Therapy.

The training was delivered by Derek Munn, Emma Barnes and Robin Matheou. We practised (via role play!) being ‘interviewed’ by a newspaper journalist, radio presenter and TV journalist (in front of a camera!) This was good practice but I found that I was more nervous in these situations than I was when being interviewed live on BBC Radio Newcastle earlier in the year!

We had opportunity to watch some of the videos that were recorded on the day and this was good experience to see how other SLTs respond to some challenging questions. We learned about what makes a good news story which I found useful and this will definitely be something I think of when contacting the media in the future. Once the training was finished we had a Giving Voice Innovation Group meeting to discuss future Giving Voice plans –particularly ideas around The International Communication Project 2014 (find out more at and sign the pledge here recognising that the opportunity to communicate is a basic human right (I’m sure you’ll all agree with that!) I am excited about 2014 and the International Communication Project – are you getting involved?!

Giving Voice Innovation Group

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Fabulous Fireworks

Remember remember 5th November...

On bonfire night this year I was on a river cruise on the Tyne with my family. It was a fundraising event hosted by North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA) to raise money to support their work. As you may know, NETA supports individuals (and their families) with Aphasia - communication difficulties following a stroke, or other brain injury.

I met my family in Newcastle straight after work and we headed to the boat which was waiting for everyone to board at the Quayside. Once on the boat we ordered some drinks (a nice hot cup of tea as it was freezing outside!) and waited for our cruise to begin.

I was wearing a black and pink dress (accessorised with a Giving Voice badge!) and I put Giving Voice leaflets on all of the tables. I provided my family with Giving badges too, which they all happily agreed to wear (with only a little reluctance from one of my teenage nephews!)

I volunteered to sell the raffle tickets so I had the opportunity to speak to everyone on the boat. It was nice to catch up with some of the members and they were interested to hear about how my new job is going :-)

The evening was lovely, with fireworks lighting the sky. Many people stood upstairs on the deck, wrapped up warm,  to enjoy the view. My nephew and niece both had a turn at driving the boat which made their night!

It was lovely to spend some time with my family and help a fantastic charity raise some extra funds. I enjoyed helping to sell the raffle tickets and it was a good opportunity to hand out Giving Voice leaflets to remind everyone about it. I saw people looking at them and some took them home.

An enjoyable evening raising money and awareness of Aphasia and I look forward to the next time I can take part in one of their events. My family and I have been fundraising over the last few months and I presented NETA with a cheque for £200 on the night. Together with the fantastic fundraising efforts of my sister and brother-in-law for the Great North Run, and our afternoon tea event in September, I am delighted to say that we've raised more than £1000 for NETA this year! Thank you to everyone who has helped us to support this fantastic cause!

Me presenting the cheque to Janet Speight, Chair of NETA 

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Two years on...

Tuesday 18th October 2011 was one of the best days of my life. Two years ago today, along with 200 other Speech and Language Therapists, I was in London for MassMobilisation. We went to the Houses of Parliament to meet our MPs and talk about the importance of speech and language therapy.

Two years on and Giving Voice is still going! The importance of speech and language therapy is still very high on the agenda.  Communication is something we take for granted every day, which is why we need to keep raising awareness for those that need the support of SLTs. Everyone has the right to communicate, to express their wants, needs and feelings. Speech and language therapists enable this to happen for individuals which need support. But we don't stop there! We also help people with swallowing and feeding difficulties. The pleasure of eating and drinking is something else taken for granted when we can do it with ease. Speech and language therapists really do transform lives!

I'm going to tweet my MP today to thank him for his continued support and remind him of our meeting two years ago.

I started this blog as a way of sharing Giving Voice ideas and hopefully inspire others to get involved, as well as raising awareness of Speech and Language Therapy. I didn't know if anyone would read it, but I continue to write it just in case. I'm a big believer in spreading the message one person at a time :) this time last year I had just reached 10,000 page views and it is now at just over 21,000! I'm delighted that people are continuing to read and share it!

Please keep spreading the word that speech and language therapy transforms lives. One day someone you love might need our support.

On a slightly different note I am delighted to be starting a new job on Tuesday! My first clinical post with the NHS :) I've really enjoyed my work in research and as a therapy assistant but am very excited to be starting my new temporary post! :)