Giving Voice launches in England

Church House Conference Centre, London

30 November 2021

As the snow fell and the rails and roads seized up, a warm and inspirational group gathered in Westminster to launch the RCSLT’s ‘Giving Voice’ campaign.

Ed Balls MP (Shadow Home Secretary and Patron of the British Stammering Association) kicked off with a ringing endorsement of the campaign’s aim to demonstrate the unique value of speech and language therapists. He was later to be found chatting to Joe, a lively four year old who’d got permission to stay up late to tell ‘important people’ like Ed how his speech therapist Sunita helped him overcome his ‘bumpy talking’.

Kamini Gadhok, CEO of the RCSLT shared the headline figures from the ‘economic case’ for speech and language therapy. Published by Matrix Evidence, the report finds that speech and language therapy delivers an estimated net benefit to the UK economy of £765 million!

Then followed a lively hour in which MPs mingled with speech and language therapists (SLTs) to find out more about the work they do. Each SLT had invited along a service user – individuals passionate about the transforming role their own therapy had on their life. Gareth Gates was on hand to share his own experience of overcoming a stammer, and press the case for investment in SLT services. Creative juices flowed freely as guests designed their own Giving Voice speech bubble for the online gallery.

Grabbing a box of popcorn, guests then settled down to watch ‘The King’s Speech’ following an enlightening introduction from Mark Logue, grandson of Lionel, the therapist featured in the film. It was clear that the audience were deeply moved by a film which touched on struggles many had personally encountered. George Metcalfe captured the mood in the room as he rose to give a moving recollection of his own experience of receiving therapy from Lionel Logue himself!

The final delight in an evening packed with entertainment and inspiration was an address from stand up comedian Jaik Campbell, which was hilarious and serious in equal measure.

A special mention to Eddie Kidd and his family, whose journey from the South coast turned into a five hour mission. Thank you for making an enormous effort to join us.

Trekking home through the snow with their Giving Voice goody bag, guests were surely spurred on by a warming sense of having spent a wonderful evening marking the start of this vital campaign.