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Student Award

BSc Speech Sciences Graduate wins prestigious award for Student Campaigner of the Year


David Curtin (graduated BSc Speech Sciences 2011) was awarded student campaigner of the year award at a ceremony for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Honours and Giving Voice awards at Westminster on 18th October, 2011.  The award was presented to him by John Bercow. He received a trophy engraved with his name and a cheque for £500.  The photograph shows David Curtin (far right) with the award and (from left to right) Kamini Gadhok (the professional director of RCSLT) John Bercow (RCSLT president) and Bryony Simpson (RCSLT Deputy Chair).

The Giving Voice campaign was launched by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) to increase the public’s awareness of people with speech, language and communication needs, along with the role of speech and language therapists (SLTs) working with such individuals and their families. The campaign aimed to highlight not only the positive role SLTs play in helping often very vulnerable members of society, but also in an effort to lessen the effect the public sector NHS cuts are currently having on our profession. As a result, the slogan of ‘speech and language therapy transforms lives’ was coined and SLTs, students and service users up and down the country started to think of innovative ways that they could take part. He personally wanted to contribute to such a vital campaign for numerous reasons but particularly as he knew he was in his final year at UCL and facing a volatile jobs market.

David wrote to the BBC show EastEnders, regarding a character with communication difficulties, stressing the need to increase their reference to the difficulties the character faced. The executive producer replied thanking him for his letter and for highlighting the RCSLT’s campaign. In February 2011, an episode was broadcast where two characters had a conversation relating to the character’s specific communication difficulty (aphasia) and how this was currently affecting him and his caregiver.

David also collaborated with an East London hospital, helping them to launch a successful campaign. He drafted a letter to be sent to the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, inviting him to visit the hospital’s SLT department to meet some of the SLTs and the clients we work with. He has also written to various national newspapers, campaigned in his local central London area, emailed fellow Speech Sciences students at UCL about various Giving Voice events and presented to a group of SLTs at the RCSLT headquarters about the importance of organising and taking part in events.

The campaign is soon drawing to a close but David intends to continue campaigning at a local and national level. David reports that he has thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such a worthwhile campaign. He wishes to give thanks to people who have supported him: family, colleagues, peers and staff at UCL. He reports that he feels truly honoured to have helped raise awareness of the speech and language therapy profession and to have been given this prestigious award from RCSLT, acknowledging his achievements.

Links to Giving Voice campaign website addresses: