Headlines: December 19th, 2008

A children’s charity has welcomed news of 12 million pounds of Government investment in services for youngsters with speech, language and communication needs. Action for Children described an action plan unveiled by the Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Children’s Secretary Ed Balls, as vital in helping vulnerable children communicate more effectively.

Clare Tickell, the charity’s chief executive said, “We know from our work helping the most vulnerable children, especially those who are severely disabled, that effective communication skills are key to empowering young people and enabling them to reach their full potential.”

The plan includes up to 1.5 million pounds in grants to the communication sector and a similar amount for a research into speech, language and communication needs over the next three years. A new Communication Council and Communication Champion will also be appointed early in the New Year to support the delivery of the plan and to advise on how to develop effective services.

Alan Johnson said he was determined to ensure all children got the help they needed to communicate effectively. “The ability to communicate effectively is essential to a child’s education, health and wellbeing. I look forward to working with the Communication Council over the coming months to make this action plan a reality,” he added.