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Speak With I.T. Talkathon competition

Speak With I.T. is holding its first major fundraiser, on behalf of people with aphasia. The charity is inviting everyone in the Yorkshire area to come along and take part in their Talkathon competition.

We will be appearing at the White Rose Centre, Leeds, on March 9; and the Ridings, Wakefield, on March 10. There will be a prize for the winner who can prove they’re the greatest talker!

The timing of the Talkathon competition is certainly appropriate, as it falls during National Conversation Week 2018.

During the Talkathon, competition entrants will be asked to pick a topic that they’d like to talk about. Once the stopwatch has started, they will talk about this for as long as they possibly can; however, they cannot mention the topic word or move off topic – if they do, their time is up.

Not only will the Talkathon be a fun event to take part in, it will also be the ideal opportunity for the charity to remind the general public just how vital communication is for us as humans, which many of us take for granted.

Barnsley Technology Club

Barnsley Focus Group

Speak With IT visited Barnsley Metrodome this morning to discuss a new pilot project we’re provisionally calling ‘the Barnsley Technology Club’.

Alongside Speech Therapist Emilie Verroken, from the South Yorkshire Foundation Trust, Speak With I.T.’s James Major and Katy Frost attended a focus group, which allowed them to gather the opinions of people with aphasia, prior to relative funding applications the charity plans to submit. They received some fantastic feedback and lots of new ideas!

The pilot project will aim to support people to use various computer therapies. As well as that, the project will encourage digital participation, i.e. helping people with emails, texting, accessing social media, etc.

More details to follow…

Volunteers’ Training Days

volunteersWe’ve just held our first batch of training days for all new and existing volunteers of Speak With I.T., in Sheffield, York and Leeds. As well as walking newer volunteers through the basics of what their role would entail, they also heard from Dr. Rebecca Palmer, a Speech and Language Therapist from Sheffield, and the lead on the CACTUS project concerning aphasia. During Dr. Palmer’s training, attendees spent time with a group of people who had aphasia, and also briefly explored the various computer therapies we’re currently promoting.

These initial sessions are followed up by more in-depth online training. New volunteers to the charity are also supported on their first visits to clients by an experienced volunteer. Speak With I.T. is now on a mission to find even more clients with aphasia for the influx of new volunteers that have joined us from various areas of Yorkshire.

Pop-up aphasia cafés

popup aphasia cafeSpeak With I.T is holding two pop-up aphasia cafés: Tuesday 13th February, between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, at Shirecliffe Community Centre in Sheffield and Monday February 19th, between 2.00pm and 4.00pm, at Tang Hall Community Centre in York.

Open to everyone, the café will demonstrate the support the charity offers, supplementing the work of Speech and Language Therapists, and charities such as the Stroke Association. We already work closely with the speech departments at York and Sheffield Hospitals.

Speak With I.T. launched a recruitment drive for Volunteer Speech Support Workers in November last year and the charity has been overwhelmed by the response.

Charity Manager, James Major, says, ‘We’ve been particularly successful in recruiting volunteers in York and Sheffield area, and we’re now on a mission to raise awareness of the charity in these cities and surrounding villages. Therefore, we’re particularly keen to welcome anyone with aphasia to the cafés, as well as their carers, and anyone who may be in the position to refer clients to the charity. However, the café is not an exclusive event, and the general public are welcome to drop in and meet us.’

James and Katy’s Santa Dash for Speak With IT

santa dash

Speak With I.T.’s Charity Manager James Major, and Fundraising Manager Katy Frost, are taking part in a Santa Dash, to raise much-needed funds for the charity. On Sunday December 3rd both will don a Santa suit alongside hundreds of other ‘Santas’, and run, walk or hobble the one mile route across Huddersfield.

Funds raised as a result of their Santa Dash will go towards the purchase of an iPad and a speech therapy licence. These items will allow us to help more people with aphasia across Yorkshire.

In the season of goodwill, we all make more effort to be nicer to each other, and some of us even take time out of our busy schedule to do some good (well, we don’t want to appear on Santa’s ‘Naughty Boys and Girls’ list, do we?!). If this appeals to you, you’re welcome to join James and Katy on the Santa Dash, and to also nominate S.W.I.T as your chosen charity. Alternatively, you can simply donate to their festive fundraising cause by following this link:

Help us spread some Christmas cheer, on behalf of people with aphasia. To put it into a Christmassy context: we want to create more ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ moments for people with aphasia, and fewer ‘Silent Nights’…

Sunday 29th October is World Stroke Day

BBC4 is broadcasting a documentary about Aphasia on World Stroke Day at 8pm.

‘Speechless’ was made by award-winning filmmaker Richard Alwyn over the past year, and is set at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

You can read more about the documentary on the UCLH website and the BBC website


You are Hired!

lottery_fundedThe week of October 2nd saw three new staff members start at Speak with IT

Katy Frost is the new Charity Fundraiser, Diane Hall is the new Project Worker, focusing on Marketing and Caron Brookes is the new Project Worker, focusing on Administration.

So from now on when you call our new office in Wakefield you might speak to one of 4 people!

It’s official: Speak with IT are going places!


Allie Marathon

Allie ran for Speak with IT

A huge thank you and well done to Allie Garside who ran the Richmond Half Marathon on Sunday 17th September 2017 raising a whopping £840.72 for Speak with IT!!

Thank you for the huge effort Allie and also thank you to all her supporters for helping to raise such a fantastic amount of money for the charity…

She ran the course in 2 hrs and 5 minutes – that’s pretty good going!!



Volunteering in Skipton

We are looking for a new Volunteer Speech Support Worker covering the Skipton area.

Speak with IT support people with Aphasia to improve their communication skills using computer therapy programmes.

We currently have two clients living near Skipton who have requested our support.

This is a great opportunity for someone who really wants to make a difference and contribute to their community.

No qualifications required, all we ask is for volunteers to be positive, friendly and patient with a good understanding of IT.

Contact James on 01924 562228 for an informal chat about the role or complete an application form which can be found on this website

Sarah Millard 250

Well done to Sarah Millard

Speak with IT Volunteer Speech Support Worker in Leeds, Sarah Millard, has now reached 25 client visits supporting people with Aphasia.

Here she is being presented with her certificate by Zoe in Leeds…

Sarah supports 2 people with Aphasia, Zoe and John, visiting them outside of work and on weekends.

Thank you for all the hard work Sarah, it is enormously appreciated by all involved with the charity.


Our longest serving volunteer leaves to have a baby!

Alana Botwright presentationThere was a very special presentation held in the charming village of Bishop Monkton yesterday evening. Speak with IT were waving a fond farewell to our longest serving volunteer, Alana Botwright who is soon to have a baby…Alana is pictured on the right being presented with hand picked (yes hand picked) flowers by Alexandra Garside…

Alana applied to be a volunteer with the charity in August 2013 and in her application she wrote that she planned to volunteer for less than one year! Yeah right!….Also in her application it says her occupation was a year 4 speech and language therapist student…well she has come a long way – she has now been a fully qualified speech and language therapist working for the NHS in North Yorkshire for 3 years….!

On behalf of your clients and the charity thank you Alana for your 4 years of support and when you are ready to volunteer again please please please give us a call !!!

James Major is our new Charity Manager


lottery_fundedJamesSpeak with IT is pleased to announce the appointment of James Major as their Charity Manager as from Monday 10 July 2017

James will be based at the new SWIT office at
24 Cheapside Wakefield WF1 2TF

James can be contacted on:

01924 562228


Speak With IT is moving forward

lottery_fundedSpeak With IT is now funded by The Big Lottery Fund.

We are recruiting volunteers so we can help even more people with aphasia to restore their speech, gain confidence, lose the feeling of isolation and get back into the wider community.




Jo marathon

2017 London Marathon runner Jo Hovell raises over £2,000 for Speak With IT

Jo ran the London Marathon in 4 hours 42 minutes.

Speak With IT are very grateful to her for raising this fantastic amount for our Charity.



Pip Garside, Trustee of Speak With IT, is nominated for Yorkshire Woman of Achievement Award

Pip Garside
Nominees in this category will have made an outstanding contribution to their local community, either as an individual or as part of a business. This may have been achieved through fundraising for local causes, raising awareness for important issues or tackling social challenges in their area.’

Pip attended a glittering lunch on Friday 12 May at The Royal Armouries in Leeds attended by over 400 people. Her husband Peter, her daughter Jane and other Trustees of the Charity accompanied her. All the nominees for the 10 award categories were asked to stand to receive applause from all the guests present before the lunch began – see photo above.

There were 4 other nominees in this category which was won by Bana Gora who is the CEO of the Muslim Women’s Council which represents the views of Muslim women from across the UK.


Nova Wakefield Volunteer Fair on 2nd June 2017

Nova volunteer fairGraham Johnson, Trustee and Secretary of Speak With IT attends Nova Wakefield Volunteer Fair.

Graham reports that the event was well attended and he handed out many leaflets and posters to potential volunteers.

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