Talking Takes Off, our Luton project for improving the word gap for children with speech, language and communication needs has continued to support children and families through what has been a challenging year for all. 

Funding for the project originally came from the Dept for Education, and during this time we were able to develop tools and services to support improving speech, language and communication for our Luton children.  A year later, following the programme becoming part of Flying Start’s Strategy and core delivery, we have together undertaken the following activities:

  • Flying Start Children Centre staff have supported parents with one to one support, ideas and video clips for extending the home environment for communication opportunities (via Facebook and our website page: https://www.flyingstartluton.com/talkingtakesoff/usefulvideos/)
  • Continued, with our key partners, to deliver virtual training to practitioners working with families
    • Early Years Communication and Language Toolkit Training- 201 practitioners have accessed either via live teams training or the recorded video on youtube.
    • Lift Off to Language Group Training for 2s or 3-5 year olds- 20 early years practitioners trained via zoom to deliver language groups in their settings
    • Talking Takes Off Universal Takeaway Workshop on Zoom – 16 more practitioners trained, 465 practitioners now trained in the Talking Takes Off messages
    • Talking Takes Off Train the Trainer for Champions- 19 more practitioners trained, bringing the total Talking Takes Off Communication Champions to 43
    • Talk for All training- converted into video learning- still to be promoted
  • Communication Champions in organisations meet termly to share good practice
  • ICAN Volunteers have continued to share the key messages widely with their wider community groups in a Covid compliant way
  • Provided bookable appointments with the Speech and language Therapist Deborah to support families with strategies for improving their child’s communication- over 200 calls made
  • Talking Takes Off Communication Benches – Using money remaining from the original DfE funding, we are working on a project to install decorated concrete benches throughout the town.  Artwork will be designed by children aged 5 and under in local schools and nurseries, with a theme of ‘Places and Dreams’, which artists will then transpose onto the benches.  Fitting closely with the original requirement of the DfE grant, the benches will encourage communication and discussion within families as they have fun looking for characters and images on each of the benches.

As we move forward we will continue to offer: training, Talking Takes Off for Communication Groups working with partners, and ensure the key messages are delivered through the Flying Start Website, Social Media Campaigns, our valuable volunteers and through early year’s education settings.