Update January 2024:
We have now closed this project, but we do have a new project up and running with generous support from National Lottery England. We will continue to offer a wide range of opportunities for AAC users, parents and practitioners across England.
Update March 2023:
Save The Dates – CM Mentoring Project Training Days In Leeds
We are now in our last year for the National Lottery funded mentoring project and we are planning some great opportunities in Leeds for AAC users to come together and gain a recognised qualification.
We can pay for transport, accommodation, teaching resources and qualification certificate.
There are also lots of other benefits including:
- Meeting new people and seeing friends
- Learning together in a safe and fun environment
- Learning new skills and knowledge
- Having fun as we all really enjoy these sessions!
Plus there is an opportunity to progress to a Level 2 qualification.
More information will be provided soon but places will be limited so if you are interested in finding out more, please let us know as soon as you can.
LEVEL 1 IN MENTORING (you will need to attend all the dates below – minimum age 16+):
- Thursday 11th & Friday 12th May
- Monday 22nd & Tuesday 23rd May
- Tuesday 6th & Wednesday 7th June
All sessions will take place at Leeds University campus.
For more information, please contact:
Update November 2022:
Communication Matters Mentoring Project Drop-in Session 2023 – Save the Date!
Friday 24th March 2023
Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
Are you an AAC user, parent, carer, professional working with AAC clients, or have you completed any courses with Creativity in Practice? Are you interested in finding out more about the Communication Matters Mentoring Project and would like to have a look at our free learning and development resources for AAC users?
If yes, then please pop in and come along to this open session to find out more about all the wonderful learning and development opportunities we have on offer. This is a great opportunity to have a chat, see the resources and have a go. We have funding available for more workshops, qualifications and courses in 2023, all free for AAC users. We would also love to hear more about your ideas and what you would like to do.
Please book in advance so that we have an idea of how many people are coming.
Booking now open! Book your free ticket on Eventbrite here.
Update Late-September 2022:
NEW MENTORING ANIMATION!
Communication Matters have commissioned a wonderful animation that really helps to illustrate what AAC mentoring is about. It is about the opportunity to listen to and support another person as they make various transitions in their lives, or if they want to make a change, or if they would simply like support using their communication device.
We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund and to the animation team including the CM AAC User Focus Group, Andrew who worked so hard to put the animation together, and to our freelance artists.
We have funding available for a host of wonderful learning and development opportunities from Entry Level to Level 2 fully accredited and some non-accredited short courses specifically designed for AAC users so please contact us for more information.
Information about fully funded accredited units and short courses – these are offered free of charge as part of the CM Mentoring Project and there are a wide range of opportunities for AAC users. Click here for more information.
Update September 2022:
We will be presenting a number of case studies to celebrate the achievements of AAC users. This is the first one for this Autumn term and we are delighted that the three young people have done so well along with an external moderation from the awarding body (NCFE CACHE).
Please come and visit us in the exhibition area at the CM Annual Conference and attend our workshop on Monday 12th September from 10.30-11.15am (Session 1.5): “New resources for learning and development – Mentoring project 2022 update.” if you are registered for the CM Conference.
Case Study #1 – Seashell Trust, Salford
NCFE CACHE Entry Level Certificate in Personal and Social Development (Entry 2).
The Seashell Trust is a national charity supporting children and young adults with complex learning disabilities and additional communication needs from across the UK. Seashell Trust provide education and care, from 2 – 25 years, at their outstanding residential school and college and through their short breaks services.
Update May 2022:
As Covid restrictions were lifted and there were opportunities to meet in person once more, Communication Matters (CM) and Creativity in Practice hosted a Mentoring Day at the University of Leeds. AAC users who had completed the Level 1 in Mentoring qualification over the last two years, and members of the CM AAC User Focus Group were invited to take part. The day was organised as part of the CM five-year Mentoring Project and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund in England.
It was evident that this type of event provided a much-welcomed opportunity to meet with others, share some learning, and find out more about the CM Focus Group.
The day before on the 28th March, CM hosted an Exhibition Day with a range of AAC suppliers, which many of our guests also attended and, in the evening, the CM Focus Group were able to meet.
The programme included presentations from the CM Focus Group, and workshops on Mental Health Awareness, Safeguarding, and Mentoring Skills. There was also an activity and presentation from experienced mentors about, ‘What Mentoring Means to Me’.
MEETinLEEDS (the Conference & Events team at the University of Leeds) provided logistical support including accessible venues, links to hotel accommodation, catering, and technical support with presentations, etc.
Positive feedback included the opportunity to meet together, share ideas and learn. The workshop themes were welcomed, although some would have liked the sessions to be longer, particularly the session about mental health (this is something we can plan for in the future). Everyone was presented with a certificate of attendance, and we have been able to host several Zoom workshops for those that were not able to attend.
In summary, it was a worthwhile and enjoyable event which we would like to repeat early next year.
For more information about the wide range of learning and development opportunities and mentoring, please contact Verity Elliott: [email protected] / 07891 959048.
We have included some photos from the day.
Update February 2022:
2021 was our third year of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and it has been another busy year.
We continued to deliver a wide range of opportunities
Covid-19 continued to present significant challenges for everyone, but we were really pleased with the level of engagement and activity during 2021.
The range of learning and development opportunities included continuing to deliver Level 1 in Mentoring qualifications via distance learning. To date, we are delighted that approximately 35 AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) users have completed, or are currently completing, this qualification. As part of the progression opportunities, learners were then able to complete a Level 2 in Employability qualification. This is not about getting a job, but the units (which learners can choose) are about the skills and qualities when in work, whether it is paid or voluntary.
We are also working with schools’ Speech and Language Therapists to provide opportunities for Entry Level 2, Entry Level 3 and Level 1 in Personal and Social Development. The AAC users could choose the units they wanted to do, and these range from healthy eating, making the most of leisure time, developing themselves, and understanding interpersonal skills, along with some other really useful topics. In total, so far, 17 AAC users have benefitted from these opportunities.
We contributed to the Communication Matters virtual conference again in September 2021, with an update on the project, and we worked with 1Voice to support their Role Model programme during the summer of 2021.
So, a busy time, but very enjoyable, and all the activities contribute to our development and next steps…
We are working on some exciting new developments – animation, adapted materials and digital skills
We are grateful to the AAC users and others who formed the consultation group for an exciting new project: Creating Visual Resources, the first part of which was to commission an animation about mentoring. We have worked with an animator and freelance artists, as well as AAC users who have provided the narration. We hope to be able to launch the final copy of the animation in the new year.
We have also worked with a Speech and Language Therapist, who has adapted all three units and handbooks for the Level 1 in Mentoring qualification with symbols. This offers another format for AAC users who wish to access this type of resource and we are now looking at adapting more learning materials such as the Entry Level units. This has been another worthwhile and exciting development as the project continues to expand its resources for future AAC learners.
Whilst this is very much in the early stages of development, we are working with a school to develop some resources based on the Department for Education’s Essential Digital Skills Framework and National Standards, and we will pilot the modules we adapt with the school, with a view to potentially offering this more widely. More information to come during 2022.
We will continue to offer our distance learning opportunities as well as offering some face-to-face learning opportunities, subject to Covid-19 restrictions. We would also like to begin planning for some more animations in 2022. In summary, we are continuing with the learning and development opportunities on offer as we have funding available.
For anyone interested in finding out more, please contact Verity Elliott on:
[email protected] or 07891 959048.
Update August 2021:
We have had a busy year adapting our materials to include a wider range of accredited learning and workshops. Some exciting developments include short animations about mentoring and adding symbols to some of our learning resources. We will be creating more of both of these over the next 12 months and will be launching our new resources and animation soon so watch out for more news.
We have funding available to support AAC learners in England through the National Lottery funding so please get in touch for more information.
Please contact Verity Elliott on [email protected] or 07891959048.
CM Mentoring Project – A Story from one AAC User:
You can read a story from one person about their experience of completing a course by clicking on the link below.
For more information about any of these opportunities, please contact Verity Elliott on [email protected] or 07891959048.
Update January 2021:
This is our third year of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund in England and we have a wonderful range of qualifications for AAC users including Entry Level 2, Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Topics include personal and social development, mentoring and employability.
All sessions are free and delivered via Zoom or Teams and learners can complete workbooks and activities from their own home. We provide 1-1 support and guidance.
We can also help with setting up a local peer mentoring project in school or college, or through another service.
For more information about any of these opportunities, please contact Verity Elliott on [email protected] or 07891959048.
Update October 2020 – new flow-chart:
During the past few months we have learnt through our various activities with individual AAC users, parents and professionals, that we can offer a wide range of learning and development opportunities that help to work towards mentoring and building trusting relationships, but that also focus on life skills and readiness to learn.
We also know that the opportunities this project provides, enables access to learning that is quite unique and we are so proud of the achievements made by our learners so far.
We have created a new flow-chart (see below) that we hope clarifies the various options and how we can work with AAC users aged 14+ to adult, either as individual learners, or through a local school, college or speech and language service.
Please feel free to call or email Verity Elliott, as we can bespoke our offer to meet individual and local requirements. The courses are fully funded and we are grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund in England who continue to provide financial support for the next three years.
Email: [email protected]
UPDATE JUNE 2020:
Due to Covid-19 we have revised all the learning materials to enable you to complete the qualification from the safety and comfort of your home. We will continue to provide 1-1 support and guidance and ensure we meet your individual learning needs as best we can.
We are still able to deliver Level 1 Mentoring and Level 1 and/or Entry Level 3 in Personal & Social Development qualifications for AAC users and help set up local mentoring schemes.
The course materials and written handbooks have been adapted so that you can complete the qualification at home. The use of Zoom and Teams are proving invaluable. It would be good to keep small group work and workshops as our first preference, but whilst this is not possible and may not be for a while, distance learning has lots of potential.
We would like to emphasise that this is ‘distance learning’ and not ‘online learning’ as we are maintaining a personal relationship and 1-1 support and guidance.
Please feel free to download and share the flyers below.
If you would like more information please contact Verity Elliott:
UPDATE JANUARY 2020:
Funded qualifications for mentoring and personal development!
Communication Matters has been successful in receiving a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to deliver Level 1 Mentoring and Level 1 and/or Entry Level 3 in Personal & Social Development qualifications for AAC users over the next three years and to help set up local mentoring schemes.
‘Mentoring is a way of giving time and support to another person to help them make changes in their lives. Mentors will have had relevant life experience and an understanding of what another young person is going through or what their concerns are.’
The route to being an effective mentor includes opportunities to develop other related skills and understanding through Personal & Social Development.
This is very exciting as we know that many disabled young people would welcome the opportunity to be supported by another disabled young person who understands their concerns and aspirations and who may be able to spend time working together.
The qualification consists of a variety of units and topics and we are able to fund the workshops, qualification registration, assessment and certificates along with a small travel allowance to help with travel costs.
If you would like more information, or would be interested in similar courses in your area, then please contact Verity Elliott: