We held interviews with clients and their partners about the benefits of our support service between October 2015 and August 2016.
Of the people surveyed:-
All were emphatic in stating that the support we provide is excellent, with 11 respondents explicitly highlighting the friendships that had been created between volunteer and client.
72% explicitly stated that the NHS provision had not been sufficient, as such respondents unequivocally stated that our support was needed and had been a pivotal factor in aiding further personal development.
91% reported that the clients we have helped have improved their communication skills; speech, reading and writing.
73% reported improvements to the general confidence of our clients and a willingness to be more active in local life.
When questioned about recommending our services to others, all respondents answers were incredibly positive with terms such as “110% YES”, “Definitely”, “absolutely”. This has come to fruition with several new people being supported by us following recommendations from people we have helped.
We ask all of our volunteers when applying to tell us what they think about the opportunity and what benefits they perceive by asking them why they want to volunteer with us.
Of the volunteers that have applied to us between May 2015 and July 2016:-
82% reported that they were attracted to the volunteering opportunity as it would enable them to directly help people.
32% stated that they will benefit from working with people living with aphasia.
55% reported that they believed the experience gained would be beneficial in their pursuit of higher education with 45% specifically stating they believed it would help them gain access to further education speech and language courses.
There is high demand for the volunteering opportunity we provide, in several towns that we operate in, we currently have a waiting list of volunteers who we can call upon following volunteer turnover or new client referrals.
The feedback we have collected, the demand demonstrated by the historic work we have performed and the waiting list of volunteers that we have, all contribute to proving there is a real need for what we deliver.
The feedback we have received has been extremely positive, the following feedback demonstrates that our methods are suitable and successful and show the positive impact our programme has on psychological well-being:-
‘The Speak With IT charity is a wonderful idea, you’re the net when you think you’re falling. It is heart warming to think there are people like you around, there to help when people think they’re on their own’ – Partner of Client, Leeds
“Speak With IT have really made a positive impact on regaining my speech and language skills, I have progressed from saying individual words to being able to speak whole sentences” – Client, Skipton
“The support I have been given from the Speak With IT team has helped me to rebuild my everyday life and gain confidence in myself” Client, Harrogate
“There is a powerful technology involved but there is also a sprinkling of love and kindness from all of the people involved that has inspired and given confidence to rekindle [name]ability to speak once more” Carer, Leeds
“Kevin likes the service. He always is motivated to use the program and is always asking for his computer. There is no one else out there willing to help him, so it’s a really important service.” Parent of client, York
“I have found the service and support absolutely fantastic. Keith’s computer usage has improved tremendously. Keith is joining in conversations a lot more. He has become more outgoing and is keen to pursue many of his old interests. He is also more confident in attending social events independently. He has the confidence to strike up conversations with others independently.” Partner of client, Silsden
“There would be a complete lack of progress without the support of SWIT.” Partner of client, Ilkley
“The service is excellent, it fills in the gap which the NHS cannot provide. It is really the next step beyond the NHS. The support is very good. It is a friendly charity and I have got along well with everyone I have encountered. The charity has also been very informative in terms of providing advice for wider support. Even though the charity is small, there is a breadth of experience. They have put me in contact with other organisations and people who are in a similar situation. This is so important because it makes you feel as though you are not alone.” Partner of client, York
“There is a real gap after the NHS have stopped with their sessions. I think we had 10 to 12 sessions on the NHS and that was it. That was nowhere near enough. It’s great to have someone visiting who we have built up a rapport with and who we can trust. There has been an overall improvement in speech. Eileen can recall more words and she is even using some short sentences. She shows more willingness to join in conversation. It has helped her a little to progress with her reading too.” Partner of client, Scorton
“It is a wonderful service and the level of support is first class. The volunteer has even become our friend. He is using more words in general and he is joining in conversations.
I recently took him to see the Stroke Nurse at the hospital. She could not believe the change in his speech and the improvements he has made as a result of the support of SWIT. The nurse saw him approximately 3 years ago, so he has come on in leaps and bounds since then. Another lady who sees John and works for Life Line has also been impressed at the marked improvement in his speech.” Partner of client, Harrogate
“It is an absolutely brilliant service. It fills the gap that community services seem unable to provide. I have found the support to be reliable, consistent and to meet individual needs.” Partner of client, Leeds
“In the beginning, James would just sit back and listen. He would not have a go at speaking. Just the other day at church group, he said a full sentence. I welled up with tears as it was so lovely to hear him have the confidence to use a full sentence. Having the one-to-one support provided by volunteers has been incredibly useful. The volunteers also give James the encouragement to go on and keep him highly motivated. He is more willing to try the speech exercises as a result of the encouragement given.” Partner of client, Leeds
“We were effectively dismissed from the NHS after a few weeks when for a fact Trevor needed more. We are really pleased to have SWIT helping us. I think the service and support are absolutely wonderful. The volunteer we have travels a long distance to see us each time.” Partner of client, York
“Bertha could not do or say very much at all when she first came home from hospital. It really took the pressure off me as her main carer to have someone there to help. Bertha used to look for words, she could not remember or recall them very well. She does not have to search for the word she needs as much now as a result of the help she has received through SWIT. When she first had her stroke, she was reading words incorrectly and she was writing things down wrong. This has improved a lot because of the help she received through the charity. She can even take down phone messages now correctly. Her speech has also improved tremendously. She could hardly speak when she first came home from the hospital.” Partner of client, Harrogate
“It really helped us. Very little support was given by the NHS. We were given 10 to 12 weeks of speech therapy and that was it. Denise needed a personal touch and someone to trust. It has been so useful for her to build up a rapport with a volunteer, who was even willing to look at the results, see how she was progressing and stay in touch over time.” Partner of client, Leeds
“Yes there is a genuine need. SWIT supplements the NHS help. There is not enough support from the NHS. It is too time limited and support is needed on an ongoing basis. This is where SWIT makes a real difference by carrying on with the support where the NHS left off.” Partner of client, Ripon
“It’s been a brilliant service, really good. I simply cannot fault it at all. The support received has been brilliant too. I cannot fault that either. The volunteers are excellent. The way they have so much patience, the way they teach clients to use the technology and programs and how to regain their speech. It’s excellent.” Partner of client, Bradford
“I do think there is a genuine need, yes. I have found the support to be great for not only supporting the client, but the carer too. The volunteers have been teaching 2 people together – both me and my husband. I have picked up so many handy hints and tips for helping my husband with his speech and to know when he is ready to move on and progress.” Partner of client, Bradford
(5 Jan 2016)
[Client] had his stroke three years ago. He became a client of Speak With IT just twelve months ago. Carl arranged a Tavistock Trust grant for [Client], and we sold him a SWIT laptop for £50.00.
[Client’s wife] said that he had not really appreciated his time with NHS Speech Therapists. He felt they were always anxious to move to their next appointment, and the sessions, limited to pencil and paper, were boring.
Carl’s sessions with [Client] have been quite different. Carl set up his laptop with pictures which reflected Alan’s love of motorbikes, planes and other machines. He gave [Client] excellent initial help with finding his way around the laptop.
[Client] always looks forward to Carl arriving, and the sessions are punctuated with a good deal of laughter. In [Client’s wife] words, ‘Carl has managed to bring out a little nugget from the back of [Client’s] brain’. [Client] has unquestionably improved in his communication and confidence thanks to Carl. In word-finding, Carl helped [Client] to look for ways round a problem. [Client’s wife] cited an amusing example: she asked [Client] which vegetable he would like for dinner. He kept repeating “daffodil”. [Client’s wife] worked out ‘flower’ and settled on ‘cauliflower’!
To illustrate [Client’s] confidence, [Client’s wife] described a telephone conversation between [Client] and one of his old customers ([Client] was a painter and decorator before his stroke!) From another room, [Client’s wife] had listened to [Client] speaking confidently and without apparent difficulty, saying “have you had a good Christmas?”.
[Client’s wife] said that Carl’s support for [Client] had been wonderful. Always on time, generous with his time, and absolutely dependable.
She commented that the Speak With IT Charity was a wonderful idea: ‘You’re the net when you think you’re falling!’ She said it was heart warming to think that there were people like us around, there to help when people think they’re on their own.
Feedback received – 7 January 2016