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Social Impact Report October 2019 - October 2020

While this past year has been undoubtedly challenging, we’ve embraced new ways of working remotely, including weekly sessions via Zoom with Bury People First and our group of Communication Advocates.

During these sessions, we’ve looked at different ways in which we can effectively communicate, and the most consistent theme throughout was that the advocates really want their voices to be heard – how can this be done?

Well, various topics have been discussed throughout the year, including:

· Having the right to accessible information

· Supporting people with additional communication needs

when they’re transitioning from child to adult services

· Needing support staff to understand different methods of

communication, and training them properly in order

to do so

Activities using Signalong

With the kind permission of Signalong, we were able to learn the top 20 core vocabulary signs, as chosen by our group of advocates. This list included everyday words such as ‘Hello’, ‘Shower’ and ‘Happy’, and in 2021 we hope to promote these words within the wider community and encourage others to learn them too.

Also using Signalong, we learnt how to sign the first letter of our names, followed by the sign for our favourite hobby, or something else that represents us – for example, Alison from Total Communication would sign the letter ‘A’, followed by the sign for ‘communication’, as she’s a Speech and Language Therapist. As well as it being a beneficial activity for learning signs, it’s also been a fun way of getting to know one another!

Another fun activity we’ve done over the past year is learning how to sign along to popular songs, such as Jacques Offenbach’s Can-Can – the words in bold below are the ones we learnt the signs for:

My dog, he can do the can-can,

Better than the cat can,

But the goldfish finds it very difficult,

My dog, he can do the can-can,

Better than the cat can,

But the goldfish finds it very hard.

Along the way, the group chose new animals to replace the ones above – we’ve also had llamas, ducks and snakes!

Talking Mats and person-centred communication training

We delivered Talking Mats training to North West therapists working in mainstream schools, which was really positively received.

Also, we worked with Kirklees Disabled Children’s Service to deliver a 3-day communication training course for 25 members of staff. Again, feedback was excellent.

Student placements and volunteer

We’ve had two Speech and Language Therapy students on board this year, Emma Beckett and Samantha Owens, who are both third-year students at the University of Manchester.

Emma and Samantha have joined the weekly advocates group on a regular basis, and have consulted them about training materials that we plan to co-produce and co-deliver. They’ve also created a training course about helping people to understand spoken language.

In addition to the students, a marketing volunteer joined the team in autumn 2020 – Lauren Heys is helping us with writing funding bids, along with social media/campaign planning.

Lauren Heys, Marketing Volunteer


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