From the Youth Panel first forming in September 2015, things have begun to kick off. The Youth Panel, consisting of 15 young individuals have met six times in the last year at Tonic Insight Offices in London. From the first few initial meeting, the youth panel was introduced to Lucy Hayes (Charity representative) and Seyi Matthews (Creative at Tonic Insight) to establish the role of the Youth Panel, and to help create their vision. The Youth Panel vision is:
“To create a society where having a stammer isn’t a barrier to success for young people.” ASC Youth Panel
At first, only male members had applied and were recruited for the youth panel. All members thought it was in the best interest to recruit female members to better the panel and make stronger connections. In January 2016, the launch for recruiting young women to join the youth panel begun. As a result, three female members had joined the panel which was great!
Throughout the past year, the panel have developed skills in research and problem solving to tackle any barriers that may oppose them. The panel have also created a short facts video and are applying the finishing touches to their very own website with the help of Seyi. The panel’s social media has taken off on Instagram and Twitter by posting photos and tweeting about meetings and events. The panel have been fortunate to have a guest speaker at one of their meetings with Dr Cameron Raynes from the University of South Australia coming up to talk about his experiences with having a stammer.
The Youth Panel will be campaigning in schools to help children who stammer. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of stammering in schools, and educate teachers and pupils on how stammering can affect a young person’s school experience. All panel members have encountered previous experiences with dealing with their stammer and how it effects their lives throughout school. Thus, making the panel a strong group of young people to help and give advice to those going through the transitional points through education and into the world of work.
A lot has happened in a year, all of which has been very productive and has pushed the panel closer to achieving their vision. The panel are growing stronger and will continue to grow and accomplish their aim to raise of awareness of stammering.
Monday 17th October was my first day on work experience with the charity, Action for Stammering Children (ASC). I was very excited to embark on my new mini adventure working with Phil Pyatt (ASC Chief Executive) and the other members of the charity. Once arriving in London, I met Phil who brought me to where (ASC) are based, a charity which has the vision that ‘children and young people who stammer have the same opportunities and quality of life as their peers’. The charity also help fund assessments, therapy and training, and support the Michael Palin Centre (MPC) in improving the lives of children who stammer. As I was situated in the MPC it was truly rewarding to be working here over the next three days.
On this day, an event called Stammering therapy Changes Lives was held at Speaker’s House. This building was truly fascinating! Reminding me of the set in the Harry Potter films. It felt amazing being able to work and help at an event at such a grand place. I was introduced to Norbert (British Stammering Association CEO) who assisted in handing out name tags and directing people to the main room. Norbert was a character who I found quite inspiring when speaking with the use of quirkiness and humour. My speech therapist Teresa Howarth even showed up which was a treat! In addition, I was introduced to Ben Bolton (Specialist Speech & Language Therapist) who will be leading the residential for teenagers who stammer at Bewerely Park, Harrogate, also funded by ASC. It was lovely to meet him before offering my help on one of the days of the residential in a few weeks.
After various conversations and meeting new people the speeches began with the Speaker himself introducing the event. Following on, speeches from Ed Balls, George Freeman (MP), Joe Allen (ASC Youth Panel Member), Olly Wilkinson (MPC User), Walter Scott (Employers Stammering Network), and Amanda Littleboy. All the speakers did a magnificent job of sharing their life experiences and how therapy has helped them to tackle any barriers and build in confidence. The event was a success with more meeting and talking to new people of all stammering background. Not to mention I got a picture with Ed Balls!
A great end to a great day is what I can say. It was an honour being able to meet and communicate with therapists, stammering charities and MP’s, all in such a highly reputable venue. First day of work experience was definitely a success!