Latest news


New funding from Two Ridings Community Foundation

Speak With IT has been awarded extra funding to develop our support for people with aphasia in North Yorkshire!

Funded by A Life Less Lonely and administered by Two Ridings Community Foundation the grant will enable us to deliver extra training for our volunteers and help to fund extra speech therapist interventions for people with aphasia in North Yorkshire.

We are ready to support people with aphasia across Yorkshire

New volunteers in York

New volunteers in York

Speak With IT completed Volunteer Speech Support Worker training in Leeds, York and Sheffield through November inducting around 30 new volunteers!

Volunteers attended a full-day induction and a further half-day training which included a session delivered by a speech and language therapist, an opportunity to meet people with aphasia to learn more about the condition and training on the various computer-therapy programs available to support people with aphasia.

Volunteer training in Leeds

Volunteer training in Leeds

We are now able to accept referrals from speech and language therapists and other healthcare professionals across Yorkshire.

Please contact our office for more information or email

If you are someone with aphasia or a carer of someone with aphasia and have nobody to refer you on you can still access our support. Please call our office on 01924 888608 or and we will explain the process.


Annual General Meeting

Just a reminder that Speak With I.T.’s AGM will be held next Tuesday (25th Sep) at Wakefield Wildcats’ ground, from 3.30pm.

Everyone welcome; feel free to come along and have your say.

Jane Barrett and Marian Farrar

Great Yorkshire Bike Ride

A huge ‘Well done!’ to our supporter Jane Barrett, and her friend Marian Farrar, who completed the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride last Sunday, cycling to Filey from Wetherby.

Here they are at the finish line (Jane is on the right). Neither lady looks like she’s even broken a sweat! They raised more than £1000 for Speak With I.T. – an incredible result! Thank you to everyone who donated.

Emily raises £402 on the Fountains 10k run

Speak With I.T. volunteer Emily Gibbs, together with her partner, Reece Elliott, ran the Fountains 10k on April 29th. They completed the race in just above an hour, and raised £402 for Speak With I.T. Well done on both counts, guys!

It was a well organised race with a great atmosphere and a live band at the start and finish lines. More than 450 runners took part, which attracted plenty of spectators (the weather stayed fine, thankfully).

The money raised by Emily and Reece will help to fund new hardware and software. This will enable us to deliver even more computer therapy to our clients with aphasia, in a bid to improve their communication skills.

Easter raffle in Wakefield

The generous folk at the Co-op in Outwood, Wakefield, kindly gave Speak With I.T. space in-store, so that we could promote our raffle and speak to customers about the help we offer people with aphasia.

The picture shows our fundraiser, Katy, with Mick, the manager of the store, and other staff members. Thank you for making the charity feel so welcome, and thank you to everyone that donated.

Katy raised £53.63 and some lucky winners enjoyed a very chocolatey weekend!

Talkathon competition

We enjoyed listening to every one of the fantastic entries during our Talkathon competition. Winners in the White Rose were Ben, who talked about quantum mechanics, and Sarah, who chatted about the food outlet Greggs.

Saturday’s winners in the Ridings Centre were Barbara, who talked non-stop for more than seven minutes about her husband’s illness, and Carley, who chatted about her role in the stroke unit at Pinderfields Hospital.

Other entries covered topics such as Shakespeare, James Bond, My Little Pony, bee-keeping, YouTube and football.

It was a great event to hold, and we met some fantastic people during the two days. Thank you to everyone who took part, and also to those that helped to organise and run the event.

Thank you also to our generous sponsors: Ltd, The White Rose Centre, Philip Anthony Photography, The North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and The Entertainer – your support is much appreciated.


Anne Little Case Study

Something big can come from just a small act, which is definitely a claim Anne Little, one of our volunteers, can attest to. She says, ‘I was planning to donate my old iPad to Speak With I.T. (SWIT) after I upgraded, so that it could be loaned out to clients undertaking computer therapy. I submitted a small article to my local community newsletter about SWIT, and how it needed more tablets and laptops to meet client needs, and was delighted to receive three laptops, which have now been passed on to SWIT.’

Read more about Anne’s experience as a SWIT volunteer…

It’s sometimes difficult to know what to do with old technology when you upgrade. SWIT gladly accepts laptops (Windows 7 and above) and most tablets; we’ll also refund any cost incurred to wipe the hardware clean of all your programs, search history and personal data.

Wakefield Trinity open days

rugby-ballWe’ve made some great links with various organisations within Yorkshire recently, one being Wakefield Trinity Rugby Club. They’re setting up a brand-new team for people with disabilities (physical and non-physical; essentially, if you’re not in a wheelchair, you’re eligible to play), which we think is a fantastic opportunity for our rugby/sport loving clients. The initiative is not a token gesture either – players’ profiles will be on the club’s website, and the disabled team will play competitive games in the usual way.

The club are holding two open days for anyone interested to come along and learn more. The open days and all sessions are completely free, the latter providing social support as well as the benefits that come from lots of fresh air and exercise! Motivational talks will also be a part of the team’s sessions.

The open days will take place at the Wakefield Trinity rugby ground on March 3rd and March 10th, from 9am until 12pm. If you’re interested in sport, why not go along and see what they’re about – what have you got to lose?

The Wakefield Trinity Community Trust has already attracted a lot of support for this project from such as ex-players and a number of people in the public eye. The disabled team is only one of three in the UK and interest has come from all over the country.


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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