Giving Voice

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Paloma gives me Faith

I have no idea how it’s April and this is the first Giving Voice blog post I’ve written this year! Time flies past so quickly! I am still working hard and loving working as a Speech and Language Therapist.

As I am sure you are all aware, the general election is rapidly approaching (if you are not aware of this, where have you been hiding!). This is a very important time for the country and a perfect time to raise awareness of Speech and Language Therapy with local candidates to ensure that it remains on the political agenda.

RCSLT are asking members to write to local candidates to ensure that newly elected MPs are aware of the importance of SLT. You can find out more about this on the RCSLT Giving Voice website here

RCSLT are calling on the political parties ‘to support early identification of speech, language and communication needs’, and ‘ensure equal access to Speech and Language Therapy support’. It will only take a few minutes out of your day to help contribute to this important campaign. I have previously developed good working foundations with the current MP for Wansbeck (Ian Lavery) and it really is not as scary as you might think!

We all have a voice, and more importantly we all have a right to make our voices heard. Last month I saw Paloma Faith, live in Newcastle, and I was really pleased that she used her tour as an opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of using your vote as people have fought for this right for us in the past. I couldn’t agree more and I think it’s really good that she used the opportunity of an arena full of people to remind people that we can use our voice by voting (without taking anything away from the concert). So don’t forget to vote on 7th May, and write to local candidates in the mean time!
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Another year over...

Another year is almost over! How did that happen?!

A lot can happen in a year! I for one didn’t see myself moving to another city for a job, but I am so glad I did as I absolutely love the job I am doing at the moment!
I have not blogged even half as much as I would have liked this year (mainly due to Great North Run training and blogging) but I have tried to keep it updated when I can.
Earlier this month I saw that the Leeds Giving Voice choir were doing a Christmas performance. This choir is inclusive for adults with neurological conditions and their carers. It was launched in June 2014 by Speech and Language Therapist, Wendy Neill. The choir is the 2014 winner of the Leeds Community Healthcare Innovation Award.

When I heard that they would be performing some Christmas songs, I decided I would like to go along and support them. I attended with two other Speech and Language Therapists, and we had a lovely evening. The choir began in Trinity shopping centre and we were given song books so we could join in. After about half an hour of festive songs we all moved from the shopping centre into Holy Trinity Church where mince pies and mulled wine were served before more festive songs. It was a lovely evening which made us all feel Christmassy and it was clear to see how much the choir enjoyed their performance.

It’s been a busy year for me, and the highlight of my campaigning this year was the charity night I arranged at Ashington Football Club starring Lost Voice Guy and hosted by Steffen Peddie. I was delighted to hear that Lost Voice Guy won the BBC New Comedy Award a few weeks ago – thoroughly deserved!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and wishing you all a Happy New Year. I am looking forward to my continued (and hopefully more active) role in campaigning for Giving Voice 2015 particularly in the lead up to the general election, both individually and with the Giving Voice Innovation Group.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Time flies! (and so did I!)

I can’t believe so much time has passed since I last updated this blog! My Great North Run blog (and indeed training for the Great North Run!) took over my life the last few months and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write. In addition to the running, I also relocated from Northumberland to Leeds for a Speech and Language Therapy position at the end of September,  so to say life has been a little hectic the last few months, is an understatement! (If you are interested in reading about my journey to the GNR raising funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia you can read about it here –

Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I have forgotten about Giving Voice. I am absolutely loving my new job (working in a mainstream primary school) and take every available opportunity to tell anyone who will listen about what I do!

I even jumped off the Tyne Bridge last month and travelled by zipslide to the Gateshead side of the Tyne! I was of course in Giving Voice colours and was wearing a Giving Voice badge. The man that checked my harnesses before I jumped asked me about it and I took pride in telling him about Speech and Language Therapy and how we transform lives. This was a very welcome distraction to take my mind off the fact I was about to jump off the bridge! I was absolutely terrified until I was ‘flying’ through the air, by which point I actually quite enjoyed it and wondered why is has taken me a quarter of a century before deciding to try something so daring!

I tweeted @ZipslidesUK after the event and used relevant Speech and Language Therapy hashtags including #givingvoiceuk and they retweeted it J

In September I attended the RCSLT Mind the Gap Conference which was an enjoyable and educational two days. It was lovely to meet so many passionate SLTs and I managed to catch up with some of the other Giving Voice Innovation Group members. I was also recorded for the higher education roadshows, talking about my experiences since I graduated and my involvement in Giving Voice. I hope it inspires some more students to get involved in campaigning for the profession.
Over the summer I was working in an admin job and felt a little detached from Speech and Language Therapy, and apart from applying for lots of SLT jobs and running for the North East Trust for Aphasia I wasn’t really doing much related to Speech and Language or Giving Voice and I really missed it. I am so pleased to be working as a therapist again. To any students/new graduates reading this don’t ever give up on finding the job of you deserve (and use other opportunities to gain other skills).  I feel so lucky to be excited about going to work every day and knowing that I am making a difference to the lives of the children I work with.

I am also lucky to be part of a lovely team and have already met some brilliant therapists in the short time I have been there. I had a spare copy of the 2014 Giving Voice calendar which I gave to my new team. This is now proudly displayed in the clinic office and has enabled me to have some Giving Voice conversations with the other Speech and Language Therapists. The adult team in the service where I work have just won an award for the Giving Voice Choir they set up.

October 18th marked 3 years since Mass Mobilisation in London where SLTs descended on the Houses of Parliament to tell MPs the importance of SLT. I can't believe how the time has flown! This is still up there with one of the most exciting experiences of my life to date, and I tweeted my MP Ian Lavery to thank him once again for his support, to mark the anniversary of this day. I am looking forward to getting involved in the campaigning around the lead up to the general election 2015, and hope lots of other SLTs do too.

I promise not to leave it so long before I write again!
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Thursday, 31 July 2014

A time to reflect

It's three years this month since I started this Giving Voice blog to raise awareness of the profession.  I have really enjoyed my time being involved in Giving Voice and I love my role in the Giving Voice Innovation Group.

I've met lots of lovely people throughout my campaigning and I look forward to meeting and engaging even more in the future.

As Giving Voice enters it's 4th year, RCSLT are looking for people to share their opinions about the campaign - what's gone well and where it is going.

The survey is here and is really easy to fill out. It would be great if you could spare just a few minutes of your time to fill it in. Whether you have been involved in a one off Giving Voice event, been actively involved, or just haven't quite found the time to get involved yet, all opinions are greatly valued! Survey closes on Monday 4th August 2014.

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fun for all!

I can’t believe that I’ve almost let a month go past without updating this blog! I’ve been quite busy training for the Great North Run (check out my progress here)!  June is not quite over yet though so just time for a quick update!

The entertainment evening I organised at Ashington Football Club on Saturday 7th June was a huge success! It aimed to raise money for the North East Trust for Aphasia and to raise awareness of Giving Voice and The International Communication Project 2014. Weeks of planning and preparation were all worthwhile as it was a brilliant night!

Steffen Peddie (from BBC sitcom Hebburn) did a brilliant job of hosting the night which starred hilarious Comedian Lost Voice Guy. Steffen ensured the night ran smoothly and kept the audience entertained from start to finish.

Early in the night I spoke about Giving Voice and ICP 2014. Following my brief speech I introduced Janet Speight, Chair of NETA who spoke about the charity and what it is like to live with Aphasia.

Liz Panton, then performed her Giving Voice song on the Ukulele and encouraged audience participation. She also told of her own recent experiences of having mild Aphasia.

We had a successful auction, brilliantly led by Steffen, two entertaining games of ‘Head ands Tail’ and a race to the raffle prizes! We also had live music from Charlotte and Jordan, who were absolutely brilliant!

The whole evening was a huge success and everyone enjoyed it. We raised more than £750. A great night was enjoyed by everyone! The Thursday after the event I went to NETA and presented them with a cheque for £1000 (the money from the event plus some other fundraising my family have been doing).

Thank you to everyone who attended and helped out on the night. Thanks also to the Undefined Group for doing an excellent job of the lighting and sound!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Comedy and Laughter

Time is flying by again! Two weeks today until the fundraising and awareness raising night that I am hosting at Ashington Football Club. Ticket sales are on the increase but there’s still availability for anyone who would like to come!

Yesterday I went to a comedy night at the football club and Steffen Peddie and Jason Cook from BBC 2 Sitcom Hebburn were the stars of the show! Steffen Peddie was a great host and I have now booked him to be the compere at our Lost Voice Guy event!
Rachael, Jason Cook, Me (with Giving Voice badge!) and Steffen Peddie, last night
The night is sure to be great, with comedy, music and laughter all whilst raising money for the North East Trust for Aphasia and raising awareness of Giving Voice and the International Communication Project 2014.

If you would like further information about the event or would like to purchase tickets visit

I am so excited to have Lost Voice Guy headline the night. If you haven’t seen him live before, this is an opportunity not to be missed! Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley is not only a talented comedian but a writer as well. He recently wrote this blog post as part of the #endtheawkward campaign for BBC. It’s worth a read if you haven’t already seen it J

Looking forward to updating you on the success of the Entertainment night in a couple of weeks. Hopefully see you there! (advance ticket purchase only)

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)