Giving Voice

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Scary yet exciting!

On Wednesday afternoon  I received a phone call from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists asking if I would be able to/would like to go on BBC Radio Newcastle the following morning as they had asked for an SLT to talk about what we do (as the OT and SLT services in County Durham and Darlington are going out to tender).
I was excited and nervous about the idea of talking on live radio but I always welcome new experiences to talk about speech and language therapy. The main disadvantage was having to be in Newcastle for 6.45am and thus out of my lovely warm bed at 5.30am (a time of day I never usually see!)
RCSLT were extremely supportive over the phone on Wednesday and I felt equipped to go on air and talk about how Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives.
On Wednesday evening I received a phone call from the radio station to have a chat about what would be talked about on the show and where I needed to go etc. The lady also recorded a short interview to use in the news bulletin before my interview (which I heard in the car on the way to the studio yesterday morning!)
I left the house early, with very little voice (having had a cold all week) and kept my fingers crossed it would return by the time I was live on air. Upon arrival I signed in, got my visitors pass and was taken along to the studio where I waited to be called in. I was excited and nervous but everyone was really friendly and I was chatting to another guest speaker who was going to be on about something else, after me. I drank lots of water to keep my throat hydrated and tried not to talk too much before going live.

When I went into the studio, I sat down and was handed headphones and told how close I needed to be to the microphone. I was a bit nervous once I was in the room and tried to concentrate on talking to the presenter (Charlie) rather than think about the fact I was on live radio. I feel the interview went well, but as always with hindsight, there was a lot more specific things I could have said and I have a bruise on my leg now from where I kicked myself after the interview(!!)... Concentrating on the position of my mouth from the mic, balancing my headphones, controlling my speed of talking (something which is usually MUCH too fast!), trying not to concentrate on my tickly throat AND thinking about what I wanted to say and the best way to say it proved to be quite a challenge!
As always when I am put in a different communicative situation I realise just how much I take my own communication for granted every single day. Being on the radio was an exciting experience and certainly something I would do again but I don’t think being a radio presenter will ever be a second job for me (the professionals make it sound so easy!)
Before I left I gave Alfie and Charlie each a Giving Voice pen and they said I’d be welcome back again (so hopefully there might be opportunity for this in the future)!
All in all an interesting experience, listen here from 1 hour 7 minutes if you want to hear the interview (please forgive my hoarse voice!)

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

An Inspirational Weekend

I’ve been looking forward to going to London for the Giving Voice residential for a little while now and was excited when Friday finally arrived! I was extremely happy that my train was running on time and I made it to King’s Cross with no problem at all J I travelled from King’s Cross to Limehouse station with fellow North East SLT, Sarah and we were extremely proud that we made it all the way from Newcastle to East London without getting lost!
I was so excited when I saw a sign post for The Royal Foundation of St Katharine (our destination) that I stopped to take a photo!

Upon arrival we checked into our room and took in the beautiful surroundings. We met as a group before dinner and the networking began! It was lovely to meet up with SLTs that my path has crossed in the past as well as meet lots of lovely new ones! J
After dinner we were welcomed by Derek, Ele and Emma from RCSLT for our first Giving Voice session. We got to know each other by drawing each other’s life stories and learning more about where each of us works. We also got a taste of what was to follow on Saturday and the room was full of enthusiasm! At 9.30pm we had a choice of entertainment; a film (one of which was The King’s Speech) or a drink and chat in the lounge, and the majority vote was the latter! This was a great opportunity to talk about our enthusiasm and begin to build working relationships.
Saturday was an early start with breakfast at 8am and the first session at 9am. We were introduced to a challenge that we would be working on in teams and then the first of our guest speakers arrived. A total of four talks took place across the day, all of which were extremely interesting and inspirational.

We heard from Sarah Corbett of The Craftivist Collective who inspired us to use craft in our campaigning. I used to do a lot of crafts so this is definitely something I have been inspired to try in the near future! We also heard from the Royal College of Nurses about the success of their Frontline First campaign and we watched the ‘This is Nursing’ video which was truly inspirational and made me even more proud of my sister (who is a nurse) and her colleagues than ever before. Lewisham Central councillor Damien Egan came to talk to use about life as a local councillor and how to make it easier to capture the attention of councillors. I think many of us were inspired by this and are going to contact councillors as a result! The final talk of the day was from Rhiannan Walton of Therapy Ideas Live and she inspired us to motivate and encourage others to get involved in campaigning.
Ria and David :-)

I feel like I learnt a lot throughout the 24 hours I spent in London, and formed new friendships and working relationships which I look forward to developing further in the future. I am keen to take my campaigning forward with my newly developed knowledge and skills and would be extremely keen to hear from anyone in the North East that would like to join me to Give Voice.   Check out the twitter hashtag #givingvoiceuk to see more pictures and comments from the weekend (and if you’re not already on twitter here’s the perfect opportunity to get involved!)

Some of the working group :-)
(thanks to Rhiannan for taking the photo and RCSLT for sharing it on facebook!)

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Friday, 1 February 2013

A Friday Phonecall...

I just got quite excited when my phone rang and I saw it said ‘Ian Lavery’s office’ knowing that it would be regarding the invitation to the NETA and Giving Voice event.

Unfortunately as Ian Lavery doesn’t get back to constituency until a Thursday evening he is unable to attend the event. I thought this would probably be the case but I am still pleased to have heard from them. Ian has read the letter and his secretary says if there is anything else he can do or if I need him for anything else just to get in touch again.

If you didn’t see my previous blog, you may not know that I wrote to my MP to invite him to a celebration event to celebrate NETAs award win. I also took the opportunity to remind him of Giving Voice and the importance of SLT and thank him for his previous support.

I am delighted that I still have a developing working relationship with my MP and look forward to keeping him up to date with Giving Voice in the future.

If your MP doesn’t already know about Giving Voice why not write to them and spread the message that

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives