Today, we were delighted to present a cheque for £300 to Find a Voice who are a small, community focused local charity, supporting both adults and children who suffer from a severe speech or communication difficulty. The charity which was set up in 1996 provides advice, support and loans of specialist equipment free of charge to anyone that needs it. They lend around 800 pieces of equipment every year and the demand for their services constantly exceeds their capacity. They cannot do this alone, and rely on the support of businesses and other charitable funding organisations to make a real difference to the lives of those who cannot communicate with the world around them.
In addition to their loan library, they also operate a learning centre of adults with SEN (special educational needs), delivering a tailor-made educational programmes to students who want to continue their education past school leaving age. They are an ASDAN registered centre, where students can study IT, Maths and English as well as social development and independent living qualifications.
Over half a million people in the UK have speech problems severe enough that they need a special piece of equipment to talk for them. This can be caused by many factors such as cerebral palsy, autism, global development delays, strokes, accidents causing brain trauma, Motor Neurone and Parkinson’s disease. The young without speech need to build the necessary skills required to operate the equipment, and they do this through play with specially adapted toys. This enables children to be able to use speech aids at the earliest possible opportunity, and enabling adults who have lost speech to find the means to communicate again.
“The ability to speak is one of the most fundamental things which define us as human beings. It is what allows us to fully describe our hopes, to define our fears and to express our love. Without a voice, life is diminished – yet for many people, often as a result of illness, communication is a challenge. No charity has done more than ‘Find a Voice’ to give practical help – to restore this most precious facet of human life, the ability to communicate.”
~ Nicolas Witchell, BBC Royal Correspondent and Patron