Children’s communication charity I CAN are working with NHS Swindon, Swindon Borough Council and Swindon Surestart Partnership to help improve local children’s communication skills.
Local Swindon families were invited to Make Chatter Matter with I CAN, the children’s communication charity, on Saturday 4 December at the Parade, Swindon Town Centre.
This free, family fun day event, took from 10am to 4pm, and was organised by I CAN with NHS Swindon, Swindon Borough Council and Swindon SureStart Partnership to provide free information to local families about the importance of developing children’s speech, language and communication skills in the early years.
To help celebrate the Make Chatter Matter event, Robert Buckland MP for South Swindon, the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Rex Barnett and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Swindon Borough Council Councillor David Renard and Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive, were there on the day.
Local children’s services staff worked with I CAN volunteers to host a jam-packed day of free entertainment for children and families. As well as a magician and free face painting, local children’s centre and nursery staff from Barnardos Children’s Centre at Robert Le Kyng School, Greenmeadow Children’s Centre and West Swindon Family Centre ran singing and story activities throughout the day. The Bookstart Bear with the Swindon Bookstart team hosted story time and arts and crafts activities were organised by Sixth Sense Theatre Company to use during the story time activities.
Children were also treated to sessions by two organisations: Boogie Mites, who help children’s speech, language and communication development and confidence through singing, music and movement and Talking Tots, who combine games, songs and rhymes to boost children’s communication and social skills.
Parents and carers were given free ‘communication’ goodie bags packed with information and resources that help develop children’s communication skills. This included I CAN’s Chatter Matters DVD, which shows parents how to turn everyday situations – such as food shopping – into fun and interactive communication opportunities and leaflets for local Swindon services. I CAN’s communication advisors and local speech and language therapists were also on hand to talk to families and answer questions.
Bridget Guy, NHS Swindon Speech and Language Therapy Lead, speaking before the event, said: ‘We are very pleased this event is happening in Swindon, and we hope lots of families will come and enjoy it. The local Swindon Speech and Language Therapists will be there to offer advice. Next year is going to be the National Year of Speech, Language and Communication, and this will be a great event to get that started and help us improve young lives in Swindon.’
Carmel Burton, Swindon Sure Start Partnership Manager, said: "Communication is a fundamental part of early years development, and Swindon Borough Council is committed to promoting this key skill which has such a major bearing on children’s education, social skills and future prospects."
Laura Helsby, I CAN Communication Advisor added: "Speech and language skills are vital for children to be able to make friends, learn and achieve their full potential. This road show is a great way for parents to get information, advice and activities to help their children become confident communicators."