THE COMMUNICATION ACCESS UK (CAUK) PROJECT AIMS TO INCREASE COMMUNICATION ACCESSIBILITY IN BUSINESSES AND ORGANISATIONS THROUGHOUT THE UK.

The funded part of the project through the Ellerman Foundation is now complete. We continue to be involved, with other stakeholders, in the steering group for this project.

2019 Updates

We managed a successful pilot that was funded by the John Ellerman Foundation. Work with the Communication Access UK project is progressing, slowly but steadily.

Communication Access UK is a partnership between charities and organisations that share a vision to improve the experience of people living with communication disabilities. The steering group was established in September 2016 and is chaired by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Members include Communication Matters, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Stroke Association and Headway – the brain injury association. It now includes Disability Rights UK, the Business Disability Forum and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists has been supporting the project coordinator since the end of the pilot and will continue to support the project until it has been delivered.
The steering group has overseen the project since its inception and into the early adopters phase. The group is currently considering the development of the strategy for a mainstream rollout.

The ambition is for a business or organisation to be readily identified as Communication Accessible. To achieve this, they will need to embed the training package within their mandatory staff training and meet minimum standards. A group of inclusive communication experts developed organisational standards to support wider implementation.

The training package uses the “TALK” mnemonic (TIME/ASK/LISTEN/KEEP TRYING). This incorporates the most important elements of the standards identified from the consultation, which asked participants: “What helps your communication?”

Businesses that complete the training will then be able to display the symbol. The symbol shows that people with communication difficulties will be supported and are welcome at a participating business. The project provides reverse-window stickers and posters to reinforce this message.

The early adopter phase of the project is currently underway. It is designed to test the symbol and standards in real working environments. Once a business has delivered the training to its staff, they will be monitored against a framework designed by Disability Rights UK that measures the applicability, resilience and wider impact of the symbol.

Numerous sectors are participating in this phase and receiving training (currently delivered face to face) in inclusive communication. Work to establish the first “Communication Accessible High Street” is well underway!

Early adopter sites include local authorities, the health and education sectors (including NHS trusts) and businesses including the hospitality, retail, transport and leisure sectors. To date more than 500 members of staff, representing 40 different organisations have been trained. They are supported by AAC users, who have participated as co-presenters in many of the sessions.

Work has now begun to develop an e-learning package. This will provide a more adaptable and accessible solution for the delivery of training as we start to mainstream the symbol and standards. The package will be an interactive resource with videos that can be embedded into existing induction and mandatory training.

We thank you everyone who has contributed to Communication Access UK to date. The journey continues.

More information: www.communication-access.co.uk and info@communication-access.co.uk

Catherine Harris, project coordinator, RCSLT

Watch our video on Becoming a Mystery Shopper

by Catherine Harris (pilot project co-ordinator), filmed at CM2018 Conference

2018 Updates

It has been a busy few months following the soft launch of the Communication Access symbol at the Communication Matters Conference. The pilot phase of the project runs until December 2018 and we are now into the early adopter phase. The steering group has agreed on the organisational standards and the operational indicators, which is a good foundation for a top down, bottom up approach.

The process of engaging with early adopters is important – we need to be able to evaluate the training comprehensively as it is rolled out and hopefully begin to measure impact. This is in preparation for a potential full UK launch in 2019.

Early pilot adopters include services that work with people with communication support needs, such as specialist colleges, AAC Hubs and SLT departments. We hope they will already be meeting the standards. It was a great privilege (if slightly daunting) to deliver a CAUK workshop to 50 staff from the RCSLT on 27th November. Together with CM, RCSLT is the first organisation after the University of Leeds to display the symbol.

Three specialist colleges and seven AAC Hubs are now registered and have begun the process of becoming early adopters. Training workshops for local traders in Bournemouth have been positively received – 15 businesses will now be able to display the symbol. The workshop with East Midlands transport services resulted in a group review of how people with communication difficulties are supported. These organisations are very interested in being more involved. They are very positive about including information about CAUK and how to support people with communication difficulties more effectively as part of their annual training programme. Throughout the pilot the training has been delivered through face to face workshops. We now need to develop an easily accessed e-learning module so that training can be delivered consistently to large numbers of staff.

Next steps:

  1. The steering group will continue to support the work of CAUK through the early adopter phase and is working on a long-term strategic plan.
  2. Funding bids are being submitted, including for a coordinator for the next stage.
  3. Two health trusts and a local authority have offered to support the evaluation as to how CAUK works at an organisational level. The recent addition to the steering group of Disability Rights and the Disability Business Forum has already opened up opportunities to engage with some of the larger retail organisations.
  4. We have purchased a new website URL: www.communication-access.co.uk. This will initially be embedded in the CM site. We will create a standalone website as funding allows, with it  hopefully being active from January 2019.
  5. Training resources, window stickers, posters and leaflets have been produced to support the early adopter phase.

A major success of the pilot and key to the longer-term sustainability has been the partnership working. We thank our partner organisations, especially the RCSLT, which provided a venue and administrative support for the steering group meetings. They also allocated a staff member, Naj Hussain, to support the pilot project worker through the second phase of the project. This was of great benefit on many levels. We will continue to be a steering group member and holder of any funding for CAUK for this next stage.

For attention of SLTs: A free Train the Trainers webinar will be held at RCSLT on Wednesday 16th January at 2pm. This is an opportunity to share the training materials and resources for CAUK and will equip SLTs to be able to cascade that information. Please contact us to register, or if you would like more information about this or any other aspect of CAUK.

accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

Soft Launch of Communication Access symbol for early adopter stage!

As those who attended the CM conference will know, the symbol was showcased at the Monday conference dinner. This was long awaited, following a very extensive consultation process. Anthony Lowe was awarded a certificate in recognition of the University of Leeds as the pilot site and, consequently, the first organisation to be awarded the symbol.

Specific staff teams who attended the training will now be able to display the symbol. The chef and catering team were thanked for the lovely attention to detail – a chocolate Communication Access symbol adorning the dessert, which tasted as good as it looked! Delegates were also given a coaster with the symbol and the TALK prompts to take away. Having a symbol to work with, we now enter the early adopter phase 1.

The process of engaging with early adopters is important – we need to be able to comprehensively evaluate the training as it is rolled out and hopefully begin to measure impact. This is in preparation for a potential full UK launch in 2019.

Early adopters of the pilot include services that work with people with communication support needs such as the specialist colleges, AAC Hubs and SLT departments. We hope they will already be meeting the standards but it is always good to review our practice. We will run training workshops for local traders in Bournemouth in October and November. We will also run a workshop for Supertram Sheffield in November. Supertram is working with us to collect some baseline mystery customer data prior to the workshop.

The steering group is engaging with two health trusts and a local authority that want to explore how this works at an organisational level. This is a bigger challenge. A group of inclusive communication experts from the UK’s four nations is currently working on organisational standards so that we can have a fully bottom up, top down approach.

October is AAC awareness month. This is a good opportunity to think about how you and your students/clients could get involved. We need more “champions” to help roll this out across the UK in 2019 and beyond.

Do contact us if you want to know more: accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

Since May 2018 the main focus has been on working towards the soft launch of the Communication Access symbol at our 2018 conference. We are nearly there! Also, we have been identifying early adopters for the symbol. These are businesses or organisations that will have training to enable them to display the symbol. They will then give us feedback on the impact on their services.

Involvement of AAC users: we continue to identify and support regional “champions” around the UK based within specialist colleges and adult support services. This work will be essential as CAUK is rolled out across the UK.

Our 12 “mystery customers” continue to provide baseline information about their experiences out in the community in shops and leisure facilities. Some are more active than others and, understandably, there has been a noticeable lull over the summer period. This is currently a voluntary role, but support workers in the colleges say it has given a new purpose to some of the activities in the community programmes. We hope to attract additional mystery customers from the stroke community as we roll out CAUK across the UK.

Training workshops for early adopters: already on board are a north and south health trust, Bristol Centre for Enablement, three AAC assessment hubs, Stagecoach Trams Sheffield. We have interest from a large corporate. The early adopters will need to reflect a wide demographic across the UK. We hope that specialist FE colleges will be keen to get involved. Training workshops are already booked to potentially achieve the first “Communication Accessible High Street” in the UK. We plan to offer a choice of face-to-face training workshops and an online e-learning module in the future. We are working with RCSLT education and training department to develop this framework. The plan is to engage with AAC users to produce video case studies for the CM website. The contributions from the AAC users who were involved have been repeatedly cited as a valuable part of the training workshops. The AAC users share their stories and talk about the good and bad communication experiences they have had, as well as answering questions in real time. It has also been very encouraging to hear their positive feedback about how being involved in the training workshops increases skills and confidence.

Resources and training materials: work on the standards is progressing, with a meeting planned with inclusion experts in September. There is a recognition that the CAUK standards need to be in line with RCSLT and Scottish standards for consistency, and a mapping paper has been produced. The latest version of the mystery customer questionnaire is available as a text-only or symbol-supported Easy Read English version and is now shorter and easier to complete. We hope an online version of this could be developed in the future to make data capture more streamlined and efficient. Following the launch of the symbol, we will continue to promote CAUK via our website. This will include information about the process for registration with links to appropriate resources. In the future, and subject to funding, we hope to have a dedicated website.

What next? Following a very positive Roundtable event in April at RCSLT, we have been working hard to identify key contacts in the different organisations and support networks to continue to share the vision and stimulate interest and involvement. The aim now is to work with the (pro bono) designer to help finalise the concept, design and marketing strategy of the symbol, with a soft launch planned for September 2018.

In  parallel we continue to encourage “champions” and people with communication difficulties to become involved as mystery customers and workshop presenters. The steering group now has long-term planning high on its agenda to ensure sustainability, and a recognition that sponsorship will be a key issue. This will hopefully be much easier to achieve because of the partnership working from the outset. A five-year strategic and financial plan is being finalised.

Please make contact for more information on any of the roles or resources. We need to continue to share this vision and get the message out there to as many people as possible. It would be great to work with you to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team during the autumn term. The pilot project funding finishes in December 2018 so time is of the essence.

Catherine Harris, project coordinator, accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

Involvement of AAC users: We continue to identify regional “champions” around the UK, based within specialist colleges and adult support services. It has been encouraging to keep finding local projects that fit well under the CAUK umbrella. Our 12 “mystery customers” are continuing to provide baseline information about their experiences out in the community, in shops and leisure facilities. Some are more active than others, but this is a voluntary role. Support workers in the colleges say it has given a new focus to some of the activities within the access to the community programmes.

Pilot training workshops at the University of Leeds: two workshops for staff at the University of Leeds were held in May, using modified training materials following feedback from previous sessions. The contributions from the AAC users were again cited as being a valuable part of the sessions. They share their stories, talk about the good and bad communication experiences they have had and answer questions in real time. It has also been very encouraging to hear positive feedback from the AAC users themselves on how being involved increases their skills and confidence.

Resources and training materials: we continue to develop and revise training workshop materials and resources, using feedback. The work on the standards is progressing, with a recognition that these need to be mapped to existing RCSLT and Scottish standards for consistency. The latest version of the mystery customer questionnaire is available as a text-only or symbol-supported Easy Read English version and is now shorter and easier to complete. We are hoping to develop an online version of this in the future to make data capture more streamlined and efficient. We are also discussing having a dedicated website.

What next? Following a very positive Roundtable event in April at RCSLT, we have been working hard to identify key contacts in the different organisations and support networks to continue to share the vision and stimulate interest and involvement. A representative from Parkinson’s Disease UK has recently asked to join the steering group. Now that we have concluded the symbol consultation stage, we need to finalise the symbol and standards. We aim to engage with a (pro bono) marketing company to help finalise the concept, design and marketing strategy of the symbol, with a soft launch planned for September 2018.

In  parallel we continue to engage “champions” and people with communication difficulties to become involved as mystery customers and workshop presenters. We are also engaging with potential early adopters who will help to test the process towards being awarded the symbol in the autumn. These need to represent a variety of organisations and businesses and we hope that AAC services will be keen to get involved. We are also working towards promoting the first “Communication Accessible High Street” in the UK.

The steering group now has long-term planning high on its agenda to ensure sustainability, and a recognition that sponsorship will be a key issue. This will hopefully be much easier to achieve because of the partnership working from the outset.

Please make contact for more information on any of the roles or resources. We need to continue to share this vision and get the message out there to as many people as possible. It would be great to work with you to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team.

Catherine Harris, project coordinator, accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

As usual, the time between Christmas and Easter is flying by with the added excitement of the challenging weather!

Involvement of AAC users: following successful interviews at Percy Hedley and Able 2 in Newcastle in January, we have welcomed four new AAC users to the team of recognised mystery customers. Working through the application and interview process has been an unexpected bonus of the CAUK pilot project. We have received positive reports about how it is raising the confidence and the skills for participants. This is a voluntary role but support workers say it has given a new focus to some of the activities within the access to the community programmes.

We continue to identify and support regional “champions” around the UK based within specialist colleges and adult support services. It has been encouraging to continue to find that there are local projects that fit well under the CAUK umbrella.

Introductory workshops: we facilitated an introductory session in January for the Communicating with Confidence initiative based in Queensferry. This group of people, who have a range of communication difficulties, have worked hard to establish a communication symbol. The symbol is used locally with resource materials available to raise awareness. It was encouraging to share experience and learning and to discuss how we can support each other. We also facilitated sessions at Percy Hedley and Able2. Unfortunately, the planned February sessions for the Wales AAC SEN and at Speaking Space in Southampton were postponed because of the weather. We will rebook them soon. We scheduled an informal session with the SLT team at Victoria School Poole instead. We were pleased that an abstract on CAUK was accepted for presentation at the National Voices Conference in London on 14th March. I co-presented an interactive workshop session with Lidia Best from the National Association for Deafened People. It has been great to establish new links as a result of the CAUK work.

Resources and training materials: we continue to develop and revise training workshop materials and resources, using feedback. We are planning additional workshops for May 2018 for staff at the University of Leeds. We continue to recruit mystery customers. We now have a flow chart to outline the process and an application form with interview opportunities for people who have attended an introductory session and wish to become recognised members of the team. The mystery customer questionnaire is available as a text-only or symbol-supported Easy Read English version.

What next? The final stage of the symbol consultation is now officially ended and we have begun the massive job of evaluating all the responses. The steering group wanted to ensure that people with all types of communication difficulties had the opportunity to respond, as several gaps were identified in the earlier consultation stages. We are pleased to report we achieved this, with nearly 20% of responses from many different groups. We have been working hard to identify key contacts in the different organisations and support networks to continue to share the vision and stimulate interest and involvement. Our aim is to engage with a (pro bono) marketing company to help finalise the concept, design and marketing strategy.

We will be holding another stakeholders event on 9th April 9th at RCSLT. This will update everyone on progress and to plan the next steps to launch the symbol. This event is invitation-only to ensure a wide range of groups are represented. In  parallel we continue to engage “champions” and people with communication difficulties to become involved as mystery customers and workshop presenters.

Please make contact if you would like more information on any of the roles or resources. We need to continue to share this vision and get the message out there to as many people as possible. I am concerned that I am still meeting SLTs who do not know about CAUK. It would be great to work with you to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team.

Catherine Harris, project coordinator, accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

It was really exciting to hear before Christmas that we have been awarded a second year of funding for the pilot stage of Communication Access UK. Even though the symbol selection is still in the consultation phase, we met all other objectives in the first year. This funding will ensure that work can continue with the recruitment of more mystery customers across the UK. It will also support the training of people to become workshop presenters in preparation for when the symbol is launched later this year.

Involvement of AAC users: as previously reported, eight AAC users have completed the application process and are involved as co-presenters of the workshops to businesses and or/mystery customers. Gill Pearl (SLT and CEO of Speakeasy Bury) has joined the team. She has been working with the project coordinator on the final version of the mystery customer questionnaire. In January, we will interview an additional five people with communication difficulties who would like to be involved. We are working towards having a mystery customer questionnaire that can be completed on an AAC device. We have also had initial discussions on the potential of having an app version.

Introductory workshops: we plan to build on the previous sessions at Beaumont, Ingfield, National Star, Percy Hedley and Treloars specialist further education colleges in 2018 to inspire new students to become involved. We are also developing new contacts with other specialist centres. We have had an opportunity to make a closer link with the Include choir in Redhill, with a follow-up session planned. We booked an introductory session in January for the Communicating with Confidence initiative based in Queensferry.

Resources and training materials: we continue to develop and revise training workshop materials and resources, using feedback. We have sessions on Introduction to CAUK, mystery customer training, and workshop presenter training, as well as presentations and resources to use with businesses. The intention is to roll these out using a “Train the Trainer” model. We are also investigating alternative training frameworks. We now have a flow chart to outline the process and an application form with interview opportunities for people who have attended an introductory session and wish to become recognised members of the team. The mystery customer questionnaire is available as a text-only or symbol-supported Easy Read English version. The consultation has free supporting materials supplied by Talking Mats through their website.

What next? The final stage of the symbol consultation is now live to finalise the concept and confirm the standards. The steering group wants to ensure that people with all types of communication difficulties have the opportunity to respond, as several gaps in responses were identified in the earlier consultation stages. We have been working hard to identify key contacts in the different organisations and support networks in preparation for the survey going live. It is available as an electronic version and as a download. We need your help to ensure that we have enough responses from people with communication difficulties. PLEASE DO TAKE PART!

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CM_communication_access or download a hard copy. Please respond by 28th February 2018.

Please make contact for more information on any of the roles or resources. We need to share this vision more widely. It would be great to work with you to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team.

Catherine Harris, project coordinator, accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

2017 Updates

The 2nd stage of the symbol consultation is live!

In early 2017 we asked people, including those affected by communication difficulties, for their opinions. We had more than 3,000 responses. We learned that:

  • people with communication difficulties don’t always get the support they need in the community
  • people would like a Communication Access symbol in the UK

We asked people to choose an idea for a symbol to represent communication access. There were two ideas that were the most popular. Tell us what you like and what you don’t like about these ideas in the online survey below:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CM_communication_access or download a hard copy. Please respond by the 31st January 2018.

If you have any other ideas or comments, please tell us.

CM conference: It was good to have the opportunity to update members at the Annual Meeting and to present two sessions at the CM conference. A key part of this initiative is networking and recruiting “champions” and potential mystery customers. We continue to get positive feedback from staff at the University of Leeds who had attended previous workshops and the benefit of this training was evident during the conference. In advance of the symbol launch, an interim certificate was awarded to the appropriate teams to acknowledge the training which has been delivered at the University to date.

Involvement of AAC users: We now have eight AAC users who have completed the application process and are involved as co-presenters of the workshops to businesses and or/mystery customers. In addition, Gill Pearl (SLT and CEO of Speakeasy Bury) has joined the team. We have had expressions of interest from an additional three people with communication difficulties who would like to be involved. We are working towards having a mystery customer questionnaire that can be completed on an AAC device.

Introductory workshops: We have maintained with Beaumont, Ingfield, National Star and Percy Hedley specialist Further Education colleges, and arranged repeat sessions through the autumn term to include new student groups. We have an opportunity to make closer links with the Include choir and the Communicating with Confidence initiative. We have also identified contacts in Scotland and Wales.

Resources and training materials: We continue to develop and test training workshop materials, with outlines for Introduction to CAUK, mystery customer training, and workshop presenter training as well as presentations and resources to use with businesses. The intention is to roll these out using a “Train the Trainer” model. The mystery customer questionnaire is available in an easy English and symbol-supported version.

What next? The final stage of the symbol consultation is due to be launched in late October/early November to finalise the concept and confirm the standards. The steering group wants to ensure that people with all types of communication difficulties will have the opportunity to respond, as several gaps in responses were identified in the earlier consultation stages. We have been working hard to identify key contacts in the different organisations and support networks in preparation for the survey going live. It will be available as an electronic version and as a download, and we need your help to ensure we have enough responses from people with communication difficulties. We are offering introductory CAUK workshops at the Cardiff and Ashford Roadshows. The next meetings of the steering group are on 26th October and 20th November.

Please make contact if you would like to work with us to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team: accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

Symbol consultation: The second stage of the symbol consultation has now closed. Thank you to all who have contributed their opinions and comments; we were delighted to receive over 3,000 responses. The steering group is currently dealing with the wide range of views we have received. Overall the majority decision is that “two heads” represents total communication most clearly, but in the light of numerous comments received as to how this could look it was felt that we still do not have a definitive symbol. We have also had considerable support for the “message bubble” from the feedback from business. We are now taking further advice as to how we proceed as this is something that needs to have sustainability and maximum impact. Now that we have identified minimum standards, we are planning a final stage consultation for September, with a launch planned in early 2018 so watch this space.

Introductory workshops: Our work on pilot training continues to be exciting. Following our workshops at Star, Beaumont and Percy Hedley specialist further education colleges, some students conducted mystery customer visits. We have now begun to receive completed mystery customer questionnaires, which are being used to give baseline data and as marketing tools. We facilitated the first introductory workshop, specifically for stroke survivors, at the Bury Speakeasy group in June. We also facilitated workshops at the Ipswich and Brighton CM Roadshows and at Ingfield Manor school. The SLT team in Surbiton shared experience of a local project.

Growing the team: We have developed a flow chart and application form to support the selection process for recognised trainers. There are now six AAC users who are potential workshop presenters. We are very pleased to welcome Gill Pearl (based in Bury) to the team. We aim to have trainers and mystery customers around the UK so that we can more efficiently provide training to businesses as appropriate. There will be opportunities to find out more in September at the CM Conference.

Please make contact if you would like more information or would like to work with us to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team. We are now taking bookings for the period September to December. accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

Communication Access UK symbol consultation: This stage of the survey has now closed. The steering group will be discussing all responses and comments with an aim of deciding on the next action. Thank you to those who have contributed. Watch this space for more information.

The focus over the last few months has been to research and collate information, develop materials and deliver information and training workshops, as well as continuing to evaluate the responses to the symbol consultation.

The consultation on the symbol was extended due to requests from specific user groups and is due to close on 9th June 2017. We have had more than 2,000 responses to date.

Workshops in Leeds to train mystery customers: We have now trained four AAC users to be co-presenters of the workshops to businesses. They have all completed mystery customer visits and taken part in the pilot training workshops at the University of Leeds. We have had expressions of interest from an additional three people with communication difficulties who would like to be involved.

Pilot training at University of Leeds: We have delivered training to nearly 100 staff in six workshops of up to 20 each. We had representatives from the catering services, the conference office, disability services, equal opportunities department and residential teams. The feedback has been very positive, with a high percentage reporting how valuable it was to meet and communicate with someone with a communication difficulty and who uses AAC. The university is now keen to organise further workshops to include other frontline staff.

Introductory workshops: In addition to earlier workshops at Star, Treloars, Beaumont and Percy Hedley specialist further education colleges, we held sessions at AT Therapy Oldham to introduce the project and to encourage participation in the symbol consultation. These were well received, with lots of comments and ideas from the students and the support teams.

Resources and training materials: We have developed and tested training workshop materials. We now have outlines for Introduction to CAUK, mystery customer training, and workshop presenter training as well as presentations and resources to use with businesses. The intention is to roll these out using a “Train the Trainer” model.

What next in June? The final stage of the symbol consultation will follow the evaluation. We are running introductory CAUK workshops at the Ipswich and Brighton Roadshows. We have planned meetings with the SLT team from Surbiton and the Speakeasy group in Manchester. The progress to date will be discussed at the CM suppliers meeting in Sheffield. The next meeting of the steering group is on 15th June.

Please make contact if you would like to work with us to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team: accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

The consultation to select a UK symbol for Communication Access is still live. The deadline has been extended due to popular demand to Friday 9th June.

For more information: https://www.communicationmatters.org.uk/news/2017-cauk-access-projec…

Do you have communication difficulties? Would you like to be involved with the project as a mystery customer? Download the flyer.

We had a busy month training and delivering information workshops as well as beginning to evaluate the first responses to the symbol consultation. The survey is still live so please do take part if you have not done so already.

8th – workshop in Leeds to train mystery customers
We have now trained three AAC users (and one pending) to be co-presenters of the workshops to businesses. They all have now completed mystery customer visits and have taken part in the pilot training workshops at Leeds University.

9th & 21st – pilot training at University of Leeds
We trained 80 staff in four workshops of 20 each. We had representatives from the hospitality, administration and security teams. Feedback has been very positive with a high percentage reporting how valuable it was to meet and communicate with someone who uses AAC. The university is now keen to organise further workshops to include other frontline staff.

22nd – Beaumont College, Lancaster
Cathy Harris facilitated a workshop for six representatives from the student union to introduce the project and to encourage participation in the symbol consultation. This was well received, with lots of comments and ideas from the students and the support team.

23rd – Percy Hedley College, Newcastle
A meeting with 15+ staff from Percy Hedley and others from employment services was encouraging as we seek to link this project to existing structures. We followed this with a training workshop about CAUK and to introduce the mystery customer role to eight AAC users with their support staff. It was good to be able to trial the revised mystery customer questionnaire.

During April the focus will be on the evaluation of the survey results. The next meeting of the steering group is on April 18th at RCSLT.

Please contact us if you would like to work with us to facilitate a workshop for your school, college, service or team by emailing accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk.

Access project survey released!

Consultation to select a UK symbol for Communication Access

For more information – https://www.communicationmatters.org.uk/news/2017-cauk-access-projec…

Visits to date to explain about the project, encourage participation in the consultation and begin to identify mystery customers to be involved:

31st January – Star College, Cheltenham
1st February – Gloucester Royal Hospital SLT Dept
6th February – Treloar College, Alton Hampshire

Planned for March:
8th – Workshop in Leeds to train mystery customers
9th & 21st – Pilot training at University of Leeds
22nd – Beaumont College, Lancaster
23rd – Percy Hedley College, Newcastle

We are pleased to confirm that we have appointed Catherine Harris, who was successful in her application for the project co-ordinator role for the Communication Access UK project. She started work in January 2017.

The business training pilot will move forward and we will soon circulate online a more accessible version of the symbol survey that went out at the CM2016 Conference. The possible symbol could be something like:

We had a meeting with the University of Leeds team on 16th January. They are excited to be the first business involved and eager to begin staff training.

2016 Updates

Communication Matters is working on the Communication Access project in partnership with the RCSLT and the Stroke Association.

Following the stakeholders day on 10th June, the steering group has held several meetings, at which Toby Hewson and Cathy Harris represented CM. The group’s aim is to move the project forward with involvement from the widest possible range of stakeholders to ensure it has maximum impact and sustainability.

The consultation phase has proved to be an interesting and useful exercise in terms of getting other organisations on board. The consultation was initially based on the Adelphi model, where a 70% consensus is reached. It included information on the choice of symbol, and statements on vision, minimum standards and training.

The pilot of the consultation was presented at the CM conference, where we gave hard copies to all delegates. Based on feedback from this, we have revised the consultation. We aim to launch it as widely as possible using Survey Monkey in the New Year, with the option to download a hard copy.

We included the Scope Aus symbol in the consultation with the permission of Scope, which is still very keen to work closely with us.

We held interviews for a project worker in November. The project worker is due to start in post from January 2017. They will have a key role within the steering group.

Leeds University is very positive about being the pilot site for training, which will involve the participation of people with communication difficulties who may use AAC. A mystery customer role is also key to the project.

This continues to be a very exciting opportunity for us. In meeting all our aims, it gives a clear focus for bid writing. It is an initiative that enables us to engage with other stakeholders who share our passion for communication and AAC, as well as engage with and involve young adults in transition from education to adult services. It has the potential to reach those outside these areas and have a positive impact on businesses and organisations.

We are keen to involve those who have been involved with similar local projects to share knowledge and expertise as we move forward.

Please do contact us if you would like to be involved: accessproject@communicationmatters.org.uk

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