Speech and Language Therapists complete mountain challenge to help local youngsters

Doncaster and Bassetlaw’s Children’s Speech and Language Therapy team climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in one weekend to help youngsters in the region get vital equipment to support them with language and communication difficulties.

Five staff, all based in Doncaster and Worksop, plus a family member driving, took on Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden in May – sleeping in their minibus as they drove between the peaks, which have a combined height of nearly 10,000ft (3,000m).

This challenge follows their 2018 conquering of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, which raised £1,825 and enabled them to buy four iPads, protective cases and multiple Apps to support communication.

Nicky Guttridge, Cheryl Orr, Clare Attrill, Zoe Laing and Matt Capps on the way to Ben Nevis

As a mobile team who travel frequently around the locality, the Speech and Language Therapists have found that the smart devices allow them access to more resources on the move and allow them to make the information they provide more accessible to parents. The apps contained on the devices help the team to provide more effective therapy for children with severe speech sound difficulties which are challenging and time consuming to address without the new equipment.

Cheryl Orr, Speech and Language Therapist, said: “Since having the iPads, our team of 25 therapists and assistants have seen how smart apps can significantly help children with speech, language and communication needs. Clinicians, children and parents have found the iPads to be an invaluable tool to engage children and help them to achieve their targets, making the therapy fun and engaging.”

However, having to share a small number of iPads throughout a big team who cover a wide geographical area is challenging so the team have embarked on another mammoth climb in order to raise funds to add some additional devices to their inventory.

Cheryl said: “After completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks in 2018 – 25 miles and 5,200ft of ascent completed in 12 hours – we were ready for a bigger challenge for an even greater cause.

“The National three peaks was a huge physical feat for all the walkers and drivers. We spent the whole weekend either walking, driving, trying to sleep in the minibus or filling the minibus with fuel and making cups of tea. We all discovered that sleeping in a minibus is very uncomfortable, especially when it is moving. Our fantastic drivers Nicky and Daz Guttridge drove us from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike from 10 pm – 4 a.m. along many country roads, not an easy drive. It was the hardest thing most of us have ever done but we were positive and worked well together.

“We’d also like to extend our thanks to Enterprise for giving us a very good deal on the minibus.”

Cheryl Orr, Matt Capps, Clare Attrill and Zoe Laing in the snow at the top of Ben Nevis

As of 6 June, the team have raised £1,630 of their £2,000 target needed to purchase the additional resources for children with speech, language and communication difficulties. Even though the team completed their challenge on 15 May, you can still donate to support them here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/speechandlanguage?utm_term=Dv7PBW6RQ

Cheryl said: “We can’t thank everyone who has donated so far enough. In the post Covid climate we need to think about new ways of working to give patients the best possible care in the most effective and efficient way and these donations are helping us to realise those goals. They are also helping the Trust with its mission to deliver greener care. More environmentally-friendly care by reducing our reliance on paper-based resources.”

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital’s Charity support a number of projects similar to this one which help to improve hospital experiences for local people. If you have a fundraising idea and you would like to support one of our projects, you can head to our website for more information at dbthcharity.co.uk.

Cheryl, Zoe and Nicky at the top of Snowden