Friday Announcements – 12 July 2024

1. Bupa Eco-Disruptive Programme
2. Accessible Festival 2024 in Bury
3. Talking Mats Identity Resource
4. The British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) Wants to Hear From You!

News from Communication Matters:
5. CM2024 International AAC Conference – FINAL DAY for Early Bird Discount!
6. Call for Nominations for Trustees – 1 Week To Go!
7. CM AAC User Focus Group Next Meeting
8. Invite to Find Out More About CM Communication Clubs
9. About Friday Announcements

1. Bupa Eco-Disruptive Programme

From Paul Taylor, Bupa UK:

Over the past three years eco-Disruptive, Bupa’s hugely successful talent programme, has enabled hundreds of our people across the globe to work together and collaborate with people outside Bupa to find innovative solutions to the sustainability challenges facing people and planet.

The programme is back for the fourth year and this time we’re shifting our focus towards the needs of those in society who face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. One focus area is creating solutions that consider the challenges of those living with disabilities, or their caregivers, by breaking down communication barriers. We want to address challenges head on to find sustainable solutions that are accessible for all, creating a healthier and more inclusive future for individuals, communities and the planet.

So we’re looking for brave start-ups who are open to collaborating with us to find sustainable solutions to some of the biggest problems across our sector. All of the chosen finalists will receive £25,000 to help develop their product, and be in with a chance of winning £200,000 to invest in their solution. If this sounds like you and you’d like to be considered as one of our brilliant start-ups this year, apply here:


2. Accessible Festival 2026 in Bury

From Lynne Carrick-Leary, Irwin Mitchell:

At Irwin Mitchell, the Manchester team are proud to be supporting the Accessible Festival 2024 at Bury Athletics Track on Sunday 21 July from 1-6pm.

There is a great line up and lots of activities for adults and children with disabilities. There will be live music, inclusive sports and other activities including crafts, giant teepees, face painting, massage therapy, a silent disco, a petting zoo, boccia, climbing walls and food vendors and a bar.

Hoping to see you there and if you can spread the word too that would be awesome. It is a truly 100% Accessible Festival. There is an accessible toilet and hoisted changing facilities, accessible parking and a drop off area.

You can book your £2 tickets (a bargain!) here:

There will be a Quiet Hour for our sensory sensitive festival goers from 12pm!


3. Talking Mats Identity Resource

From Lois Cameron, Talking Mats:

The identity resource is now up and available free on the Talking Mats website and we have a webinar to promote it on 13 August at 2pm. Read more here:

The resource video is available here:

We were grateful for Communication Matters support in the project.


4. The British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) Wants to Hear From You!

From Jade Hegarty, British Assistive Technology Association:

BATA is keen to hear from people in the AAC community who voted in the recent election.

We want to understand how accessible your voting experience was; if the assistive technology you needed was available, and any challenges you encountered. Your response will remain anonymous; all we ask is that you identify yourself as part of the AAC community.

If you are willing to share your opinion, please write directly to BATA’s Communications Coordinator, Jade Hegarty, at [email protected].


5. CM2024 International AAC Conference – FINAL DAY for Early Bird Discount!

Registration is open for the Communication Matters International AAC Conference at the University of Leeds from 8-10 September 2024, and there is just one week left to book at the Early Bird rates.

Over the course of two and a half days, participants will enjoy a diverse programme of keynotes, plenaries, presentations, posters and talks from AAC supplier companies.

The conference provides a unique forum to meet and exchange information with representatives from all disciplines associated with AAC, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants, professionals, and suppliers of AAC equipment. Communication Matters encourages and supports AAC users to attend.

Residential accommodation will be in modern student residences, which is at the centre of the pedestrianised campus. The transport links to Leeds are very good, with a nearby airport and train station.

Book now to take advantage of the Early Bird discount which expires TODAY, 12 July. See prices and book online here.


6. Call for Nominations for Trustees – 1 Week To Go!

The time has come again to request nominations for Trustees for the next term in the life of Communication Matters. This is a role which demands stamina, commitment and skill mixing but which can be very stimulating and enlightening!

This year there are five vacant places to be filled and the opportunity of appointing a further three Co-opted Trustees as appropriate. The announcement of Trustees will take place at the Annual Meeting of Associate Members on Sunday 8 September 2024 at the University of Leeds, during the Communication Matters International AAC Conference.

For more information and to download a nomination form, please go to:

Completed nomination forms must reach us by next Friday 19 July.


7. CM AAC User Focus Group Next Meeting

The next meeting of the CM AAC user group will be on Wednesday 17 July at 4pm.

If you would like to join us, and are not on our mailing list, please contact [email protected] or [email protected] for an invite.

We will be discussing conference related ideas.


8. Invite to Find Out More About CM Communication Clubs

Would you like to know more about how Communication Matters (CM) can support new and existing groups for AAC users (Communication Clubs)? Would you like to find out more about peer support and mentoring?

CM are delighted to offer a series of free Zoom sessions to tell you more about the range of support and resources available. Communication Clubs help to bring AAC users, parents and carers and practitioners together, to make social connections, enjoy some shared learning and provide some peer support.

Please let us know which session you would like to attend (you only need to attend one):

  • Thursday 25 July – 10.30am-11.30am
  • Tuesday 6 August – 2.00pm-3.00pm

The sessions will include:

  • Welcome and introductions.
  • A short presentation about CM Communication Clubs and what we can offer in the way of support and resources with Q&A.
  • What does a Communication Club look like? Sharing experiences.
  • Ideas for new clubs – where and who.
  • What is needed in the way of support and next steps.

To book your place at any of the sessions or for more information, please email Verity Elliott on [email protected] or phone 07891 959048.

For more information about CM Peer Support, please visit:


9. About Friday Announcements

These ‘Friday Announcements’ comprise weekly product updates, upcoming courses and supplier news. Please email [email protected] with the item you want to be included by Thursday at 5pm – no more than 200 words (one entry per organisation per week) – and include contact email and/or link so readers can find out further information (no file attachments please).

If you would like to receive these Friday Announcements to your email inbox each week, please subscribe to our AAC Forum or email [email protected].