Earlier this year, Liverpool Community Health (LCH) NHS Trust launched an awareness initiative to support people with communication disabilities and improve their shopping experiences at local shops and supermarkets, funded by the Giving Voice local activity fund.
Following conversations with staff at the store, Sainsbury’s East Prescot Rd became the first supermarket to sign up to this campaign. Matt Birch, Regional Manager for Sainsbury’s, invited Councillor Richard McLinden, Chair of the Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee at Liverpool City Council, LCH patients and staff to visit the East Prescot Road store.
The group met with the supermarket colleagues, shared their shopping experiences, toured the newly refurbished store and also presented Sainsbury’s with copies of the poster which will be used as part of their staff training and development plans.
Louise Walters, SLT in Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Foundation Trust, jumped at the chance to participate in a local science festival, noticing that this would be an ideal opportunity to show off her team’s work with Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices. They used the event to display different high and low tech communication aids, and explain why they might be needed. The team’s presence at the event was supported by two service users, who demonstrated the use of their communication aids, and their suppliers. The team were interviewed for a piece on local radio, managing to demonstrate the communication aids live on air. Over the course of the event hundreds of visitors came to their stall to test the communication aids and find out about the work of SLTs.
Louise said “Our role as SLTs is to ensure that we don’t fit patients around the technology but the technology works for the patients. Overall the event was a huge success and I know on our part SLT were delighted to be involved. I came away feeling proud of our team work and that what we do everyday really is extraordinary. “
Joanne Burr and Caroline Coyne, Directors of Communicate Speech and Language Therapy Services in Blackpool participated in a night-time bike ride through the Blackpool illuminations. They used the opportunity to spread the Giving Voice message, combining facts about the prevalence of Speech, language and communication difficulties with facts about the Blackpool illuminations.
The paediatric speech and language therapy team in Hounslow held an awareness raising day, featuring events and activities for local children and parents, and inviting the local mayor to attend. The team used the event to talk about the importance of communication and
the crucial role that speech and language therapists play in developing and supporting communication skills. To see more photos from the event, click here.
Emma Shaughnessy and students from Canterbury Christ Church University hosted a Giving Voice event at the Kilburn festival in July where they asked members of the public to write their wishes for the future in Giving Voice speech bubbles, and asked vistors to complete a survey about their perceptions of SLT.
Andrea Robinson, a Giving Voice champion and SLT from Derbyshire spoke to delegates at the Primary Care 2013 Conference in Birmingham about the Giving Voice campaign. Andrea spoke about the importance of campaigning in SLT, how her team were able to achieve this. To view Andrea’s presentation, visit the Primary Care website by clicking here.
Central Essex Community Services (CECS) organised a week of Giving Voice activities that included a stand in their local shopping centre, collaboration with students from the university of Essex, and organised for their chief executive and a local commissioner to visit and observe therapy. The team invited parents and children from across the area to produce speech bubbles describing what speech and language therapy means to them. The events resulted in great feedback from parents, staff and participants. John Niland (Chief Executive) wrote to the team afterwards saying they were a ‘credit to the profession’. He has asked to be invited to a future team meeting and to shadow further therapy sessions to gain more insight into the service in order to support the team as effectively as possible.