Friday, 25 June 2010

Something to Shout About - Guest slot, Andrew Ball, Campaign Manager

After months of anticipation the waiting is over. Over the coming weeks the country will witness the public humiliation of 11 individuals, as they gloriously fail to make a name for themselves in the full glare of millions of people. Anyway, enough of Big Brother – the World Cup is here and in my book that is a very good thing.

Whether or not you like football, I can guarantee that at some point during the tournament you will be drawn into the drama and excitement of watching England win the World Cup for the first time in 44 years (yes you did really just read that – and depending on when you logged on that prediction will be appear either prophetic or pathetic). There will be twists and turns along the way – injuries, upsets, even the odd missed penalty –but one thing’s for sure the tournament will get the country talking. And that’s part of the joy of the World Cup and other similar events that create widespread interest (even Big Brother for some bizarre reason) – they give us something to talk about.

Getting the public talking is one thing we want the national year to do next year. Talking about and realising the vital role that communication plays in everything we do. Because you’re reading this you’re probably already switched on to the notion that communication is the fundamental life skill – what we (as in everyone that works in this field) need to do next year is join forces to spread this message as far and as wide as we possibly can. So, ask not just what can the national year do for me but what can I do for the national year (to paraphrase badly!).

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Guest slot, Eve Wagg, Programme Manager

Why on earth would you be interested in what I have to say?

This I feel should very much be your sentiment as you embark on reading my first blog as Programme Manger at The Communication Trust. I'll give it to you; I'm not very interesting, or witty or astute. I moan...a bit. I talk...a lot. I also enjoy the sound of my own voice. But the one (ok I am being slightly dramatic here) thing that is genuinely interesting about my existence now is my involvement in the Trust.

I have come from a stint in the "not so glitzy and glamorous" event world. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun with parties, networking and live events. But, it showed me the variety and complexity of skills needed to succeed in the world that many people are not lucky enough to pick up through life, education and relationships.

Assimilating into different environments, understanding social nuances and being able to express and articulate yourself are fundamental skills that ensure a happy and successful future. Many of the children and young people we work to support are unable to do these things for a variety of reasons. They face challenges at every corner. During my role as an Event Manager the importance and sophistication of communication has never been so apparent. These skills you are not born with. It is the Trust's role to ensure everyone understands how they as a parent, teacher, friend or grandparent can assist in this vital journey.

As I read and attempted to sign 'Aliens Love Underpants' to my nephew this morning I realised what a vital role we play in this narrative. I very much look forward to ensuring everyone has access to the information they need to help every child reach their full potential.

So on that note, I'll stop talking, which as you know I do a lot, and leave you with a great short nursery rhyme to sing and sign to your nephew/niece/daughter/son/grandson/granddaughter/friend/student/neighbour (please delete as necessary). Please click here

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Guest slot, Dave Mahon, Programme Manager

I’m all talk...

...and language...

...and communication now.

Hi, I’m Dave Mahon and I’m two months into my role as Programme Manager at The Communications Trust (TCT).

I’ve spent the last ten years working in the local government field, at the Electoral Commission for six and a half years and the National Association of Local Councils for three and a half. Both jobs were challenging in their own way and provided me with many exciting opportunities, the highlight being nine days monitoring elections in Georgia. However, after ten years I felt due for a change and due a new challenge. I’ve found both!

My knowledge of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) was basic before I joined the TCT but the range of needs, the effort that goes into supporting young people and the gaps that still exist has been eye opening. Presently I am overseeing our youth justice programme which is focusing on raising awareness of SLCN across the youth justice system, providing awareness training and developing networks to enable youth justice workers to access information and share experiences. Having met and spoken to people across the youth justice system I am greatly encouraged by their dedication in what are often very challenging roles. It is also encouraging to see that the importance of recognising SLCNs is already a key issue for many across the youth justice system.

Research suggests that at least 60% of young people in the youth justice system have communication needs compared to 10% in the general population. I’m no mathematician but these figures should be a cause for concern. Over half the young people in the youth justice system may not easily understand what is being said to them or may struggle to be understood, this can cause problems around their behaviour, affect their confidence and influence their relationships with other people. Where a greater understanding of these needs exists strategies can be put in place to help the young person and help build better relationships with youth justice staff. We would hope that in the longer term this could have a positive effect on reoffending by young people as their needs are better recognised and catered for at all junctures of the system.

Check out the new Sentence Trouble website, join the forum and let’s start talking more about how we can support young people in the youth justice system.