Patient choir founder hits the high notes at national award ceremony

A speech and language therapist from Leeds has collected a national award in recognition of her work with a patient choir.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) presented Wendy Neill from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust with a ‘Giving Voice Award’ at a ceremony at Warwick University on Tuesday.

The award recognises her efforts in raising awareness of the speech and language therapy profession in the city after founding the Leeds Giving Voice Choir last year.

The choir, made up of almost 40 trust service users with neurological conditions and their carers, has performed at a variety of venues across the city including Leeds Town Hall and a variety of local shopping centres.

Speaking after receiving her award, Wendy said, “'As a Speech and Language Therapist I am passionate about giving people a voice. The choir members are an inspiration and it’s rewarding to see the members come together, rehearse and perform.

“I find the choir a rewarding activity and I am proud of what we have achieved in such a small time. To have the endorsement and recognition from my professional body is fantastic.”

The choir also works in partnership with a range of national organisations including MS Society, Alzheimer’s Society and Parkinson’s UK.

Kamini Gadhok MBE, chief executive of The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists added, “We are delighted to publicly recognise the achievements of Wendy Neill and her fantastic choir.

“The judging panel were particularly inspired by Wendy’s commitment to creating an inclusive and fun activity for people with communication difficulties and their carers to join in with.”

The Giving Voice campaign, set up by the RCSLT, promotes speech and language therapist’s contribution to local and national decision makers.

You can keep up to date with news and upcoming performances from the choir by searching for them on Facebook, or by following them on Twitter at @givingvoicelds.