George Freeman MP joins Action for Stammering Children to celebrate our Stambition mentoring programme
On Tuesday 28th June 2022 the wider Action for Stammering Children (ASC) family came together to recognise the recent work of our charity, Youth Panel, project partners and to celebrate our Stambition mentoring programme. The Stambition programme brings together an adult who stammers with a young person who stammers as they enter the world of work.
With the help of Iain Wilkie (50 Million Voices) and Sam Simpson (Redefining Stammering), the mentors and mentees were carefully paired to suit their desired careers. Stambition Mentors can offer their Mentee advice and guidance from their lived experience, to show them that despite having a stammer – anything is possible.
Those in attendance were treated to a speech from our generous host, George Freeman MP, UK Minister of Science, Research and Innovation, who said: “In my experience of working with and knowing stammerers, generally they are garrulous people – which is partly what drives the frustration. I’ve not yet met a stammerer who says “I haven’t got much to say” – I’m certainly not in that camp.”
“I would argue there is no more noble cause in our lives than to give those who are in the ‘silent’ agony of enforced silence a chance to speak. It’s an amazing and wonderful thing.”
“[It’s] the little things, like helping a child know they’ve got help. The [Stambition] mentoring programme, knowing that there are institutes like The Michael Palin Centre who are there and can give you the support. Knowing you’re not alone.”
“Tonight you’ve inspired me. Thank you for what you do and I look forward to working with you to help more children in the future.”
In addition, guests also heard from ASC Chair of Trustees, Dame Jane Roberts, ASC Chief Executive, Ria Bernard, Katie Perrior of iNHouse Communications, and one of our incredible Stambition mentors, George Cleary, who gave an impassioned speech on how the project impacted him.
George Cleary said: “I have been given the privilege of being chosen to be one of the mentors for the Stambition mentoring programme. Nothing could of prepared me for how rewarding and therapeutic this opportunity has been.“
“Growing up as someone who stammers and trying to negotiate my way through school, and then through work, has come with a lot of challenges.”
“During a meeting with a careers advisor in school, I was told that I should explore roles where I didn’t have to talk to people. I should work back of house, I should think about working in stockrooms et cetera. Me being quite stubborn, that fell on deaf ears.”
“Being given the oppurtunity to be able to support a young person [as they] embark on their vocational pathway, has been extremely rewarding for me. No one should have to play down their dreams. Mentoring has allowed me to teach a young person that they can be who they are.”
“Having a stammer shows you are determined, persistent, it shows strength of character and a God given ability to empathise with other people. These are all traits and characteristics that any employer should be blessed to find in an employee.”
The speeches drew great emotion (and a few laughs) from the audience as we explored stammering and the importance of research and awareness of it. George Freeman MP spoke of his experience growing up with a stammer and how it impacted him.
Guests also had an opportunity to network, and our Youth Panel were able to talk to MPs and Speech & Language Therapists about the work they are doing with ASC to raise awareness of stammering and to change misconceptions.
Thank you to our guests and the team at iNHouse Communications for their huge support of this event.
We wish to also thank Nick Smith MP and Marsha De Cordova MP for their attendance and extend these thanks to George Freeman MP who so graciously hosted the evening and spent a great deal of time getting to know members of our Youth Panel, ASC staff and friends of our charity.
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By Connor Tregunna, Projects & Communications Coordinator