Giving Voice

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Laughter in Leeds

On Friday 11th December we hosted the Leeds Voice Box final at Parklands Primary School. It went really well and I was so proud to have been part of it. Three schools competed for the Leeds title and all the children told great jokes. The two visiting schools brought their schools winner and runner up and we show cased a few of our runners up from our November competition. Chris Dyson, Head Teacher, gave a very warm welcome to our visiting schools and started the afternoon off brilliantly.

It was our delight to welcome Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East to join our judging panel once again (this time after spending the whole afternoon with the school council). He was joined by Janet Addison, Head of Speech and Language Therapy and CAHMS (Leeds Community Healthcare) and Maureen Carr (who was invited following lots of generous donations of Christmas gifts to the school).
Tilly and Tom also joined in the afternoon by sitting with the judging panel, looking very festive in their Christmas jumpers. They enjoyed listening to the jokes and meeting the judges (and posing for a few photos too!)
The judging panel with Tilly and Tom
During the build up to the big day I decided it would nice if each of the finalists had a trophy so I ordered two more and kept my fingers (and toes!) crossed that they would arrive in time. On the Friday morning I received an email stating that the trophies would arrive between 14.26 and 15.26 that day! Voice Box was taking place 2-3pm so I asked the lady in the office to alert me if they arrived while we were still in the hall.  Half way through the show I saw her waving at me from outside the hall with two trophies in hand! I was so excited and quickly left the hall to get them from her.
One of the winners trophies
I was delighted that we were able to give each of the winners a trophy for making it to the Leeds final. Following the jokes from all of the children, the judging panel deliberated the important decision of overall Leeds winner while we listened to Year 4 sing Mamma Mia.

Richard Burgon made an inspirational speech and talked passionately about Leeds, the people living there and Parklands Primary School. He also announced that after spending the afternoon with the school council that he would like to invite them to visit the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. He also took the time to write to each of the 41 children from the November Parklands Voice Box competition. Richard then announced the winner, as decided by the judging panel. While he was talking each of three finalists were sat on the stage, fingers crossed, looking very hopeful they would be the lucky winner. I felt so proud of our team effort to make the afternoon so enjoyable for everyone, and was glad that each of the 3 children would leave with a trophy. Richard announced the winner and then presented each of the three finalists with a trophy, followed by the runners up with a medal.
One of the letters from Richard Burgon
Our year 5 Parklands winner, won the Leeds title with his brilliant joke about Princess Potatoes. Each of the winners from the three schools have been individually entered into the national competition and we look forward to hearing whether we have been shortlisted for the Westminster final.

I have received lots of positive feedback from the schools that took part and those who attended the Voice Box final. One of my SLT colleagues from one of the other schools said that their 2 girls were buzzing all the way home and their winner was telling everyone who would listen than she came second and showing them her trophy.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in Voice Box, from the lunch time joke clubs, joke workshops, rehearsals and live performances. It has  also been a fantastic opportunity to work even more closely with the schools fabulous SENCO (Laura) and Head Teacher (Chris), both of whom worked tirelessly to ensure Voice Box ran smoothly. It has also been great to get other schools involved and have the support of the local MP.

I am changing my NHS role in Leeds from January so I will no longer be working in Parklands Primary School. It has been a fantastic project to be involved in during my last term there and I hope that there will be opportunity to visit them again soon! I also hope that there will be opportunity to get schools involved in Voice Box again next time round!
Chris Dyson (Head Teacher), me, Tilly, Maureen
I can’t believe we are almost at the end of another year. It’s been another busy one and I’ve loved every minute! I started the year on a temporary NHS contract and am delighted that I am ending the year on a permanent contract – looks like I will be in Leeds longer than planned after all.

I enjoyed talking at the RCSLT Webinar on Political Engagement in July and then building on this further by developing links with the Leeds East MP through Voice Box. I have put feelers out in my team about us raising awareness of Giving Voice and SLT and we will be following this up in the New Year.

I am looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring and wish you all lots of health and happiness for the New Year.  

Thank you for reading – see you in 2016!