Giving Voice

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Abseiling and a Lighthouse

Last Saturday some fantastic people abseiled down Souter Lighthouse (Whitburn, South Tyneside) in aid of the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA). I wasn’t one of these amazing people, but I did go along to support them and to Give Voice.
Souter Lighthouse

·        NETA's main purpose is to support people with Aphasia, providing information and therapy support and the funding of the NETA Aphasia Support Centre
  • Aphasia is the loss or impairment of speech and language skills following brain damage (arising from a stroke or head injury).
  • One third of everyone who has had a stroke has problems with communication. Current figures show there are some 58,000 people in the North East who have aphasia.
In our second year at Newcastle University we have a placement in the Aphasia Centre and we get to be a part of the therapy, working individually with some of the service users. Therefore, we get to see first hand how important speech and language therapy is for people with Aphasia. NETA is a charity close to my heart (because of the links with university, but also because it’s great!) so I was very happy to go along and support the abseil. (I have raised money for NETA in the past – my brother in law ran the GNR 2 years ago for them and I had 2 stalls at Ashington Street Fairs this summer).

I wore my Giving Voice t-shirt for the event at the lighthouse (when it got cold though I did put my coat on! My GV badge was still visable though!) Initially I was set up inside the gift shop of the lighthouse but it wasn’t very busy so I the moved the display board outside and stood it on one of the fisher boats. Whilst inside I had the opportunity to talk to a lady whose husband had a stroke 14 years ago and has been actively involved in NETA ever since. She had not previously heard of Giving Voice so I told her about it and gave her some leaflets and pens (she told me she would share them at a Stroke Association she goes to with her husband). She was extremely interested in the campaign and grateful that I took the time to talk to her.

I also told the National Trust staff about Giving Voice (as well as NETA as I think the go well together to explain the importance of Speech and Language Therapy) and left some pens and leaflets with them. They too, were interested in learning about Giving Voice and appreciated how important SLT is (though this was something they said they had not thought about previously!)

Once outside I gave out a few stickers and leaflets as well as cheering on the people abseiling. All in all a very enjoyable day with the opportunity to Give Voice to some people – really pleased I was able to be part of it (I have so much admiration for the people who actually abseiled!)




At the bottom of the lighthouse

Info stand inside the giftshop/museum

My niece Toni and I with the display (inside the boat!)
If you know of a local event taking place (similar to this) why not go along with some GV leaflets some balloons, or even just yourself and see if you can engage at least one more person in a GV/SLT related conversation - you never know who you might bump into and what influence your little chat could have :-)

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