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Charity helping laryngectomy patients wins Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

9 June 2021

Charity Shout at Cancer has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for their work with UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academic Professor Evangelos Himonides in using music to improve speech and rebuild confidence after voice loss.

People stood in a circle at a beatboxing workshop

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding achievements by groups of volunteers. It is the highest award given to charities in the UK, and they are awarded for life.

Launched in 2015, Shout at Cancer is the only charity in the world specialising in the use of music to help speech recovery and social reintegration after laryngectomy, the surgical removal of the voice box. Professor Himonides and Dr Thomas Moors (Shout at Cancer) have run a variety of projects together, several of which have received funding from UCL Culture and UCL Public Engagement.

One recent project run by Shout at Cancer and Professor Himonides, who sits on the charity’s advisory board, brought together clinicians, musicians, patients with laryngectomy and young people from East London to explore the role of beatboxing in voice rehabilitation and raise awareness of the difficulties facing those without voice boxes.

Professor Himonides and Dr Moors organised a series of beatboxing workshops for patients and clinicians with UK beatboxing champion Marv Radio as part of the project. The workshops explored different techniques applicable in speech rehabilitation and culminated in a final performance, a world premiere of Beatboxing Without a Voice, at the Olympic Village in Stratford, East London.

In October 2020, the project won the Provost’s Public Engagement Experimentation Award. The annual UCL Provost’s Public Engagement Awards celebrate the achievements of the projects and people whose collaborations have made a positive impact in and with communities locally, nationally and around the globe.

Shout at Cancer was one of 241 voluntary groups selected to receive the 2021 Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. In addition to Shout at Cancer’s work, other voluntary groups that were recognised included those providing sports opportunities for young people, community arts workshops, and work to tackle homelessness, among many others.

Professor Himonides said: “I am so proud to see Shout at Cancer receiving this prestigious award. This is a wonderful and much deserved recognition of the Charity's sustained work in supporting laryngectomees and I am delighted and honoured to have been part of some of this work. This is also a celebration of the world-class teaching offered at IOE, the friendships forged, and the creative synergies with our brilliant students.”

Dr Moors said: “The tremendous support from UCL since our foundation has contributed significantly to receiving the Queen’s recognition. This award will help us to continue to positively impact the laryngectomy community and inspire research, art and our society to direct much needed attention to this overlooked and neglected small group.”

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  • Image credit: Professor Evangelos Himonides