Hello and a big festive welcome to our final newsletter of 2022. And what a lot we have to update you on as we end the year on a high.

Say Aphasia gets Helpforce thumbs up

In a huge show of support for our charity, we’ve been ‘Highly Commended’ in the national Helpforce Champions Breaking down Barriers award.

Help Force works with organisations to maximise their volunteer potential and recognise the great work that volunteers do in the community. 

The award is for the brilliant befriending scheme we created in partnership with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT).

The befriending scheme offers hope and encouragement to those befriended and a real sense of purpose and pride for befrienders.

Say Aphasia is described as being ‘such an asset’ to the trust. Well done Colin, Paul, Kirsty and the team.

You can read the full article here.


Say Aphasia on ITV
We’re looking forward to seeing Say Aphasia featured in an upcoming ITV documentary.

Chris Kamara, the renowned TV presenter and footballing legend is fronting a new documentary on ITV soon called Lost for Words.

In it, he explores what the diagnosis of apraxia has meant to him and how he sees it as his responsibility to raise awareness.

Apraxia of speech is when a person struggles to make the muscles involved with speech work correctly, which can make it difficult to pronounce words. 

As part of Chris’s documentary, he visits our Skipton drop in group to see how it helps the local community of people with speech difficulties. 

It’s great that Chris is being so open about his diagnosis and we hope this coverage will lead to a better public understanding of aphasia, apraxia and other communication disorders.

Tune in to ITV on Tuesday 13th December, 9.15pm.


Skipton Santa Fun Run

Santa suits were donned and Christmas cheer was in abundance at the annual Great Skipton Santa Fun Run.

On Sunday 27th November, Skipton drop in group members took part in this really inclusive community event with 1700 other ‘Santas,’ raising money for and awareness of Say Aphasia.

The event was organised by the Rotary Club of Skipton Craven and coincided with the switching on of the Christmas lights in Skipton.

After all the rain we’ve been having, the wheelchair route had some challenging conditions, but everyone was delighted that the weather was fine on the day.

The team raised over £600 for Say Aphasia thanks to some very generous supporters.  

Congratulations Mark, Caroline and everyone at Skipton - we’re so proud of you! 


Join us at the ‘happiest half’

How about getting the new year off to an amazing start by signing up for the Brighton Half Marathon for Say Aphasia? 

We have a few places left if you’d like to join our awesome team taking part in the Brighton Half Marathon in February.

We’ve got the space, all you need to do is raise some money for our amazing charity.

You can run or walk and you get to be part of a motivated and fun team, raise money for people with aphasia and achieve something to be really proud of. What’s not to love? 

You can sign up here.


Member-made Christmas cards
We're delighted to be able to offer Christmas cards designed by members of Say Aphasia.

It’s well known that art can be therapeutic for people with aphasia.

So we were delighted to offer our members the chance to design and create their very own Christmas card to be sold in aid of Say Aphasia.

Our talented artists produced some amazing work, proving that communication difficulties are no barrier to creativity. 

Well done to everyone involved.

If you're quick, there may be some still available to buy here

What’s new at our groups?

Skipton celebrates a great year

The Say Aphasia Skipton group has enjoyed a fantastic year of monthly drop ins in 2022, providing support to people with aphasia.  

This year the Skipton team has also made new connections with the Speech and Language Therapy team at the local Airedale hospital.


And they’ve supplied the Stroke Ward at the hospital with Say Aphasia Information Packs funded by Skipton Rotary. Brilliant ways to spread the Say Aphasia word in the community. 


Winchester welcomes an MP

We were delighted to welcome MP Steve Brine to our Winchester group to learn more about Say Aphasia.

Steve learned more about how aphasia can affect people’s daily lives. And all the fantastic benefits of the Winchester Say Aphasia drop in for people in the area.

It was also a great opportunity for peer leaders Jez and Lloyd to give some feedback on how local authorities can help people better after they suffer from a stroke.

They highlighted better communication and access to support. Great work team.

You can read more here.


Christmas parties in full swing 

This month we're getting into the festive spirit at our drop in groups around the country. 

As you read this, there’s likely to be a Say Aphasia group somewhere tucking into mince pies, taking part in a Christmas quiz, playing some festive games and celebrating a year well spent with friends.

Our drop in groups around this time of year are a great opportunity to enjoy some relaxed social time and be with people who understand what it’s like to have aphasia.

If you’ve been thinking of coming along, why not do it now?


Talking aphasia in Devon
We’ve been busy raising awareness of aphasia at The Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre. 

Emily Cane, our wonderful social media maestro, visited a group of health professionals at the specialist centre based near the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The session was designed to help the Speech and Language Therapists with their communication training for people with aphasia.

Em really enjoyed sharing the story of her stroke and aphasia and says she hopes it inspires others to ‘never give up.’ Great work Em.


Salty Sea Dogs blow into Winchester

Our Winchester drop in group welcomed another group of visitors in November, this time of the musical variety.

The Southampton Salty Sea Dogs treated Winchester members to a performance of their high energy and humorous sea shanties.

The Salty Sea Dogs are ‘a group of enthusiastic, friendly men who sing together unaccompanied (no piano or backing track)....who sing sea shanties and other songs (they) like.’

It’s well known that music uses different parts of the brain to speech. So many people with aphasia who struggle with speech find singing and appreciating music a lot easier. You can read an interesting article about music and the brain here.

Not only that, music is always a way to bring people together, and the Sea Dogs did that fantastically well.

We look forward to welcoming many more musical groups to our drop ins. So if you know a local group who’d be interested in sharing their music, do please get in touch.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the BBC coverage of the Sea Dogs’ visit here.

All about aphasia
In this new addition to the newsletter, we’re going to be bringing you news, research and useful developments in the world of aphasia. First up is an interesting iPad app. 


Want to MakeWrite more?
The MakeWrite iPad app is a fun way for people with aphasia to make and share creative writing. 

Living with aphasia can mean you lose the ability to express yourself through writing.

So we’re delighted to have come across the MakeWrite iPad app, developed by the INCA project.

The INCA project has been investigating innovative technologies that empower people with aphasia to create, curate and access digital content. 

With the MakeWrite app, users choose a source text, erase most of the words and then arrange the remaining words to create a new text or poem.

The app then ‘speaks’ the words back to them. It can really empower people to enjoy words and reading again.

You can see how it works here.


Thank you and have a great Christmas 

Finally, we’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone who has supported Say Aphasia this year.

From our drop in group peer leaders, volunteers, fundraisers, members and their carers, friends and family - we couldn’t have done it without you.

We look forward to a wonderful 2023 helping even more people with aphasia.