Cambridge conference offers support

April 18, 2007 9:00 AM

Over one hundred people attended the first conference organised by the Cambridge Self Help Group for Adults Who Stammer. Delegates were mostly stammerers but speech therapists, students and academics also participated.

Conference organiser and chairman of the Cambridge group, Robert Coe, commented:

"The main aim of the day was to offer advice, support and inspiration for stammerers and offer networking opportunities between interested parties. Informal discussions were held with a local university regarding funding opportunities for further study into the disability which has the potential for Cambridge to become a world centre for stammering research.

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, opened the event:

"Communication skills are more important than ever before but difficulties such as stammering are not taken seriously enough by the NHS. Speech and language therapy is seen as a 'soft' service that is too easy to cut. 8 out of 10 speech and language therapy budgets have been cut across the country this year and patients are suffering."

Another aim of the day was to encourage openness, Mr Coe explained:

"One delegate refused to accept they had a stammer for over 30 years until the open day, when she asked for help and we were immediately able to refer her to a local speech therapist at the event to give one to one counseling."

Proceeds from the day, which raised over £2,000, were donated jointly to the British Stammering Association and Dom's Fund named in memory of Dominic Barker whose stammer tragically caused him to take his own life.

Organisers Robert and Samantha Coe with David Howarth

David Howarth with Conference organisers Robert and Samantha Coe

The next meeting of the Cambridge Self Help Group for Adults who Stammer is on Tuesday 2 May, 8pm at St. Philips Church, Romsey. Details available from cambridgeselfhelp@hotmail.com

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