Local children say hello to the national year of communication with balloon launch at Wandsworth Museum
The St George’s Healthcare community speech and language promotion and prevention team launched Hello, the 2011 national year of communication campaign, with a star studded ‘words will take you far’ balloon launch at Wandsworth Museum on 28th January 2011.
The balloons were released by children from local day and community centres, West Hill Primary, Garret Park and St Cecelia’s schools. Also releasing balloons into the sky were actress Elizabeth McGovern, star of Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time in America, Jean Gross, the government’s communication champion, David Astley, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust chief executive, and Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Piers Conolly McAusland.
In the lead up to the event staff, patients and their families were asked to choose their favourite words, with the most popular being used on the campaign throughout the year with cuddles and hullabaloo being the most popular words so far. Each balloon had a postcard attached to it with a one of the borough’s favourite words printed on it, some information about the campaign and a return address so the children can see which word travelled furthest.
Hello is a campaign run by the Communications Trust that aims to increase understanding of how important it is for children and young people to develop good communication skills.
In Wandsworth, multi disciplinary children’s therapies teams provide support to children and families in hospitals, health centres and schools across the borough and in people’s homes.
Joanna Hardman, Co-ordinator of the Promotion and Prevention Team, said:
“More than 1 million children and young people have some form of speech, language and communication need in the UK, and in deprived areas more than 50% of children start school with delayed language skills. Events like this are a great way to raise awareness of this important issue.”
Actress Elizabeth McGovern, star of Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time in America, said:
“I am very pleased to be here supporting this cause. It is a real joy for an actor when you feel that even just one person has understood the message you are trying to put across and what you are trying to tell them, and living without that joy that many of us take for granted must be like living in a very lonely prison. This campaign is helping to lead kids who struggle to be understood out of that prison.”
Jean Gross, England’s Communication Champion for children, said;
“I’m delighted to be attending Wandsworth’s launch on Hello – the national year of communication. Wandsworth has already done so much to make sure every child gets the support they need as they learn to communicate. I constantly quote their work as an example of outstanding practice that I hope others across the country will follow. And now Wandsworth is leading the way again in its creative launch of the Hello campaign.”
David Astley, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust chief executive said:
“It is really heart warming to see how enthusiastically this important campaign to increase the understanding of how important it is for children to develop their communication skills has been received in Wandsworth. Our community children’s therapy team do so much to make sure every child gets the support they need as they learn to communicate, and today is a testimony to all of their tremendous work and dedication.”
Notes to editors
- For more information, please contact contact the communications unit on 020 8725 5151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Outside working hours, please page us by calling St George’s 07659 146548 and leave a message for pager SG548. High res photos available on request.