Friday, 29 October 2010

Vodafone’s ‘World of Difference 2010’ - Mark Beagan, Partnerships Manager

Would you or someone you know like to take two months out to help make a huge success of the Hello campaign?

The Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference 2010’ programme is now open for applications until the 23rd November 2010 – so get your application in quick!‘World of Difference’ offers 500 people the chance to work for a UK-based charity for two months from March 2011, and get paid for your time.

The Communication Trust is calling for people to apply to help deliver the Hello Campaign. Perhaps you are a speech and language professional, teacher or parent? There are lots of ways that you can take part, from helping to deliver the campaign in your local region to working at our office in central London.

Interested? Then what are you waiting for?

We are particularly interested in people with a background and experience in:
speech, language and communication (such as a Speech and Language Therapist); project management; press and public relations; social media campaigns; evaluation; and participation (i.e. consultation and user engagement).

Applicants must be 18+ and be able to work full time for two months to support the Hello campaign. All placements must start in March 2011.

Talk to us today about how you can help Hello to improve the lives of children with communication difficulties. Call 020 7 843 2557 to find out more or email

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Round-up of the Comprehensive Spending Review - David Hare, The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd

Below, David Hare from The WhiteHouse Consultancy, gives a summary of last week's announcements regarding the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

The CSR has been unveiled today and as predicted has made over £70 billion of real terms cuts over the period 2011-12 to 2014-15. The biggest winners from the CSR were health and international development – technically protected from cuts – but education also suffered less significant reductions than feared.

The budget of the Deptartment for Education will be down by 3.4% over the period, with schools budgets protected and a 12% reduction in other areas to allow this. Part of this reduction will come from rationalising or ending all centrally directed programmes, though what that means in practice remains unclear, particularly as the Government has committed to a national campaign to support families with multiple problems get the help that they need, suggesting some national programmes will be created.

The Pupil Premium will be introduced, Sure Start services will be maintained and extra Health Visitors will be recruited.

The main development for Special Educational Needs (SEN) is the announcement that children with SEN/disabilities will receive a personalised budget, though no information on how and when that will happen accompanied this announcement.

Local government will be forced to absorb significant cuts, suffering a substantial 27% reduction in real terms, though with far greater room for manoeuvre coming through the abolition of ring fencing in all but two areas. This extra flexibility is designed to help Local Authorities balance the books, but local government funding for services is likely to be highly constrained for several years. This will inevitably lead to a reduction in the number of contracts available for the voluntary sector, though for those contracts that do emerge, there is likely to be an extension of tariff payment mechanisms and payment by results and also a central government guarantee that a certain percentage of services must be delivered by the voluntary and independent sectors.

£470m will be made available to the voluntary sector to develop capacity, with some £100m being made available to support troubled voluntary agencies who deliver public services to keep that service going.

As Whitehouse has indicated for some time, the CSR has not set out every line of cuts that will be made by Departments; it has instead merely given Departmental allocations along with a few headline points as to what will go (and, also, what they have decided to retain). In some ways the more important announcements will come next month when all Departments set out their business plans to 2014-15, plans that will include more information on what has been cut.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Today is International Stammering Day

Working in the Third Sector, you don’t get too many perks, but last night I was lucky enough to attend the British Premiere of The Kings Speech. All thanks to the British Stammering Association.

It featured Colin Firth as King George VI, who had a stammer from an early age. The film focused mainly on the relationship with his self taught Australian Speech therapist, Lionel Logue. What struck me most about the film was the skill and determination of Lionel to help the King, it really showed the impact that a Speech Therapist can make.

Secondly, you could see close up the frustrations of the King, played expertly by Mr Firth. I do hope they award him an Oscar!

It has given me pause for thought on International Stammering Awareness Day about the frustrations that many children and young people have. I hope this film, and all the activity today, makes some people think about the challenges that many people face on a day to day basis in being able to communicate.

As for my perks the Stammering community have now given me the opportunity to meet Michael Palin and be quite close to Colin Firth so I consider myself a very lucky person indeed!

Hello – nice to meet you!

On Monday (18 October), we unveiled Hello as the name for the national year at an event at the House of Commons attended by Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families, and about 150 of the most important people in the world of speech, language and communication.

It was great to finally be able to talk publically about the campaign and introduce people to some of the activities that they can expect to see during next year.

Whilst the event was of great importance to us, the unveiling of Hello wasn’t the most significant event in Parliament last week. That honour went to The Chancellor’s speech announcing the outcomes of the Governments spending review. The national year is not immune to the cuts that the Department for Education must find and we should know by the start of December what the implications of the spending review are on the funding that had been set aside for the national year.

Regardless of that, we continue to plan for the launch of Hello to the wider public in second half of January though naturally we will need to respond accordingly to whatever news we hear on funding in December.

Some of you may know the origins of the word Hello. According to the internet (which is never wrong is it?!) the word hello was first used as a telephone greeting by Thomas Edison – the story goes that he expressed his surprise with a misheard “Hullo”. So, how appropriate then that our friends at BT (who co-founded The Communication Trust in 2007 along with I CAN, Afasic and the Council for Disabled Children) should generously agree to extend their support for this cause by supporting Hello.

We have worked hard over recent months to plan and develop the national year - reducing our costs as we’ve gone along and preparing ourselves as best we can for a number of different funding scenarios. The support we have secured from BT together with the money that the voluntary sector is putting into the campaign shows how we are backing the national year - it’s now time for the Government to match our commitments to Hello with funding of its own.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

What are the similarities between The Communication Trust and a concrete mixer? - Anita Kerwin-Nye, Director

What goes into a concrete mixer is water, sand, cement and aggregate – very different raw materials that can do a very good job on their own right but which have limitations to their use and application (sounds a bit like Trust members).

What comes out of a concrete mixer is concrete – an extremely durable, versatile, flexible and long standing product that has many different and varied applications. It’s highly adaptable and, depending on the mix of raw materials, can be used for a broad range of jobs and applications.

The thing about a concrete mixer though is that once you’ve poured the raw ingredients in, you’ve got a small amount of time to get the job of mixing done and the concrete poured out of the mixer before it sets. Therefore it requires a high degree of skill to balance a highly volatile set of materials, that can go off at any time once they are mixed together, without ruining the end product (sounds a bit like the Trust).