Giving Voice

Friday, 29 March 2013

No Voice Week

Some of the wonderful students at Newcastle University are organising a no voice week which coincides with the national campaign starting on the 22/04/2013. They are going to use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) to communicate in various contexts where communication is required such as going out for a drink, going to a restaurant, answering questions in lectures.
If you want to find out more about the fantastic awareness raising opportunity check out their blog and follow them on twitter @DVoiced and Facebook
I think this is a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of Giving Voice and AAC and it’s great that Newcastle students are getting involved. I know I am looking forward to reading their updates and hearing how they get on!
Hope you all have a wonderful Easter! Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Comic Relief Sex Change...

When I heard that Giving Voice Celebrity Ambassador of the Year (2012), Lost Voice Guy, was going to be dressing as Lost Voice Girl for Comic Relief I knew I had to go! I booked tickets online for my friend and I and was excited for my first trip to The Stand, Newcastle. We were both wearing pink jeans and our Giving Voice badges to support GV, and Lee on the night!
For those of you who don’t know, Lost Voice Guy is a stand up comedian who uses a communication aid for his voice, as he has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak. I’ve seen him a number of times and he always gets the audience laughing.  I was really looking forward to seeing him dress as a woman in aid of Comic Relief.
Every Sunday at The Stand is Gavin Webster’s Northumbrian Assembly, and Lost Voice Girl was part of this, along with another comedian. Gavin was really funny and kept the audience entertained from start to finish. He told us about the events of the night, including Bingo and a free meat draw. My friend, Rach, saw the tins of meat and in jest told me she’d like to win the hotdogs!
The whole night was great fun and Lost Voice Girl didn’t disappoint! I’d heard some of the jokes in previous sets but they always make me laugh and it was still a bit different as they were in the voice of a girl (which made a more convincing act, if the dress and wig weren’t enough to prove we were watching a girl on stage! J)
Rach and I had a really good night and she was even lucky enough to win the meat draw  (be careful what you wish for, it might come true! Haha) We carried Rach’s meat all the way back to Ashington/Newbiggin in the snow and on the metro and it made for an entertaining journey home! I would definitely return to The Stand as the atmosphere was good and the comedy funny (which is what you expect from a comedy club!)
Rach and her meat!
Lost Voice Girl raised a fantastic £350 for Comic Relief, check out the blog/watch the video from the night here.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

NETA Giving Voice Awards Celebration

As you are probably aware, myself and NETA (North East Trust for Aphasia) were unable to make it to the Giving Voice awards ceremony back in November due to cancelled trains. L Still wanting to celebrate our success, we decided to hold our very own Giving Voice awards in Newcastle.
We began planning this event at the beginning of the year and it was held at Newcastle University last Thursday, 7th March. Some of the members of the North East Trust for Aphasia have been attending a choir at The Sage, Gateshead and the Giving Voice celebration was an opportunity for them to perform together for an audience.
Due to popular demand for tickets to attend this celebration event, the programme was run across two rooms (as one room wasn’t big enough!) to ensure everyone who wanted to could attend. The programme of events included an introduction from Janet Speight (chair of NETA), a live performance from the NETA choir, live flute playing, a talk from me about Giving Voice and some videos showing what NETA does. Following the exciting programme, tea, coffee and cake were served across both rooms with opportunity for everyone to mingle and have a chat.
The choir were brilliant and the whole afternoon was wonderful. I got a little nervous before I arrived, knowing that I needed to make my (10 minute) speech twice, but once there, my nerves began to turn to excitement.
Both times my speech followed the welcome speech from Janet Speight and it was my absolute pleasure to talk about Giving Voice and why I nominated NETA for their well deserved award. Talking in front of an audience always make me more aware of my own communication, and I am always reminded that it is something I frequently take for granted. Being surrounded by people who have aphasia, yet still communicate to the best of their ability was truly inspirational. Janet talked about how her Speech and Language Therapist helped her to find her voice again after her stroke, and acknowledged that this is a similar story for many of the NETA members. The whole afternoon made me so proud of the SLT profession and there were a couple of occasions I found myself with teary eyes, as I was so honoured to be part of such a wonderful celebration.
Following my talk about Giving Voice (which seemed to go down quite well with both audiences), we moved onto the presentation of awards. I was absolutely delighted that NETA asked me to present them with their Giving Voice award. I presented the award to Janet on behalf of NETA, and made a little speech about how delighted I am that they won, and how deserved the award is. Janet then made an acceptance speech, in which she said she looks forward to working with Giving Voice again in the future. Dr Rose Hilton then presented my award and made a very kind speech about me, which left me speechless (something which rarely happens to me!)  I then thanked NETA for allowing me the great privilege of presenting their award and allowing me to be part of their celebration.

Janet Speight and I with our awards, Howden Room, Newcastle University
Thursday afternoon was truly inspirational and it was wonderful seeing so many NETA members and their families and friends able to attend the event. It was also lovely to have my parents, my older sister and my boyfriend there to celebrate with me.
I nominated NETA for the Giving Voice award as they have been actively involved in the campaign and they are a brilliant example of how valuable speech and language therapy is to people living with aphasia. I look forward to Giving Voice with them again in the future. Check out their website for more information
Well done to everyone who organised this event and thank you to everyone who attended and supported it! Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!