Organisation:Finding Charlies VoiceCategory:Small OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :1. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? Finding Charlie's Voice was set up to advocate and support all children with speech and language communication difficulties. Our mission is that no child is left behind or left our due to difficulties in speaking and/or understanding. Our aim is to support children and young adults speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), to ensure that every child has a voice and reaches their highest communication potential. Our aim is to build on partnerships and collaboration with both government and professional bodies to ensure that every voice is heard. By putting the needs of children at the centre of everything we do, our aim is to provide real tangible and impactful change for children and young adults, because just because you cannot speak, does not mean you have nothing to say,
3. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to adapt its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this? With 70,000 children in primary school estimated to have Developmental Language Disorder, a further 1/2:1,000 with Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD), and many more struggling with communication (autism, down syndrome, selective mutism, English as an additional language), we decided to pivot during Covid and focus on Communication Supports within the Educational Sector. Having met with Minister Madigan, we noted the lack of resources, support and knowledge within the classroom. We developed communication boards for school classrooms and playgrounds and have now donated 150 and supplied 600 supports on a not for profit basis to schools since May 2021, reaching approx 60,000 children. We have also through advocacy seen the first CPD & research for DVD presented in Ireland this year.
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.We know that communication is a basic human right, and the ability to speak is both a privilege and powerful tool, yet many remain without a voice, unheard, isolated, ignored- unable to access curriculum, form peer relationships and have the same opportunities as everyone else. We felt that the term 'inclusion' can often ignore those with a hidden disability of speech. We focused on primary schools hoping to not only support children within the classroom who may need it, but also to offer a learning opportunity to the whole school community to teach about the power and privilege of speech. With many county councils placing communication boards in parks and playgrounds, having these in schools would allow easy transfer to the playground and hopefully foster inclusion outside of the classroom for all. To date (Oct21), we have placed nearly 700 communication boards into schools all around Ireland (60% primary and 40% early years). A quote from a principal of school received as follows: ''I went out with the caretaker to discuss where we would place the board. While we were there, a little girl with ASD immediately gravitated towards the board using it to tell us it was hot and she was happy. Prior to this she had never proactively engaged in communication''. The feedback is that communication potential has increased significantly, that children feel seen and heard, that children are using it as part of their daily lives, and teachers are using them to model language.
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact. 1. Success and impact is measured when a child who previously was unheard or unseen can now communicate to others. 2. We gather feedback from schools regarding impact with our first 6mthly report expected end November. 3. We have already made improvements in terms of design (headers) and layout (smaller versions for the classroom etc), and this has all been based on feedback received. 4. Additions to the offerings will include home based communication supports and take away table top communication supports which have been requested by parents and educators alike. We have a special advisor on our Board of Directors who is a Speech Therapist working in private practice who assists us in terms of ensuring our models are effective and inclusive. We also have a member of the teaching council on our board to gather the school perspective as well as parent experience. We have worked in conjunction with the IASLT, Senior Speech Therapists, Trinity College, and UL Allied School of Health to ensure progress. We petitioned UL for the first research topic in the area of Verbal Dyspraxia, providing all of the parents and children to support the research and were delighted to see this presented at the IASLT conference this year. We also petitioned for CPD in this area for professionals and this also was delivered in September of this year. We continue to advocate at ministerial level and have met with both Minister Madigan and Minister Rabbitte to give voice to those who are not heard.
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?There are no other organisations dealing specifically in the area of speech and language disorders in Ireland. We are the only organisation that have developed communication boards suitable for classrooms and schools. We have applied for CHY status and will be the only charity publicly advocating and impacting tangible change directly to those that need it. Our reach is strong and with fundraising efforts led by a small team, we have managed to reach +65,000 children and are continuing to do so. Our reach has extended to the UK where our boards have been produced, and also to the US. All have been provided on a not for profit thanks to the support of our printing partners. In a communication age society, parents and their children should be afforded equal access and opportunity.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.1.Donate to help us continue our journey and support us in providing fully funded communication boards & other supports to those that need them. Check out our gofund page https://gofund.me/3bd61d52 2.Donate a Communication Board and give voice to those that need it If you wish to support your local school or playground get in touch to add your voice to the inclusion revolution. Boards can include your company name or family name as donor. €60 communication board & €15.36 delivery. 3. Sponsor a child by donating the cost of a speech and language therapy assessment (approx €400) 4. Sponsor a child by donating the cost of an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (€270 for the tech (approx, €250 for ipad) 5. Raise awareness by insisting that every child is heard. Follow us.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?Finding Charlie's Voice is a CLG (co reg 694903) registered in the state and subject to the Companies Acts. We are pending CHY status with the Charity Regulator. We have an independent board, that also contain both a Chartered and Certified Chartered Accountant, once of whom working for a global not for profit in a different sector. We have a conflict of interest policy, a strategy document and will adopt all policies as outlined by the Charities Regulator which have already been implemented. Our next board meeting will be held before our year end 31/12/2021 when accounts will be prepared in line with requirements.