Friday, 22 October 2010

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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