We are delighted to announce that Communication Matters has been successful in being awarded a grant from the National Lottery to continue our AAC peer support and mentoring project in England for another five years. This is fantastic news as we aim to continue to offer a range of opportunities for accredited and non-accredited learning in a wide range of topics including mentoring and peer support and communication clubs.

We have received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund (formerly Big Lottery). The grant will enable us to develop and support mentoring for AAC users and other disabled young people. We are excited about this fantastic opportunity! We will deliver this five-year project in partnership with Creativity in Practice. We will be offering Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in mentoring as well as supporting the development of two mentoring schemes. Stay tuned for more news and updates shortly. In the meantime, if you are interested in either of these qualifications or in finding out more please contact the office. We’d love to hear from you.

We managed a mentorship project in the Manchester area with funding from Awards for All (Big Lottery Fund). Up to six young AAC users received accredited training to support younger or more inexperienced AAC users. We hope to roll this out to other areas in the future.

The wheelchair symbol is widely recognised throughout the world. And symbols for visual and hearing impairment were recently introduced in the UK. We had a grant from the John Ellerman Foundation to develop a UK national symbol to represent communication. It is now available. Businesses and other organisations know that good communication is key to good business. Being “communication accessible” adds value to a service and benefits people who have a communication difficulty. A business that wants to display the symbol must meet minimum standards and have some training first. People with communication disabilities are involved in the training. They also work as “secret shoppers” to assess a business and help determine if it meets the minimum standards. Customer service is improved and visitors with communication needs can be more confident if they see a symbol, because staff there have been trained on how best to support them.

The three-year AAC Evidence Base research project was funded by the National Lottery through Big Lottery Fund in 2009. Communication Matters led the project, working with three research partners: the University of Sheffield, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester Metropolitan University. The research work started in June 2010 and ended in July 2013. This groundbreaking project provided fundamental information about the need for, and provision of, AAC that can be used to improve services across the UK.

We are delighted to have been awarded a one year grant from Awards for All Scotland to run a pilot project in partnership with the Straight Talking Group at the University of Dundee to offer mentoring qualifications for AAC users.

We are delighted to have been awarded a one year grant from Awards for All Northern Ireland to run a pilot project in partnership with Mae Murray Foundation to offer a range of workshops for AAC users themed around personal and social development.

The Unspoken Project performed their theatre production Speechless at the Communication Matters 2016 Conference. A portion of the John Ellerman Foundation grant (see above) was allocated to provide an online educational resource to our members based on the show.

If you’d like more information about CM and our history, you can download our History of Communication Matters book, or order a hard copy to learn more about our key dates, events and people, as well as the evolution of our journals and how AAC equipment has changed over the years.

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