BSA's 2018 in review

| 20.12.2018

Wow, what a year it's been! A year of change, renewal and of course, outstanding efforts from you, our amazing supporters. Here's a recap of how 2018 shaped up.

40th anniversary Conference

Can you believe the BSA is now 40! Yes, we know, we don’t look it. We celebrated it in style at the National Conference in Cardiff last August with a record turnout of almost 200 people. It was great to meet old friends and loads of new faces too. Our parent and child workshop was a real success, and something we’ll build on at future conferences. A big shout out to the organising committee (Christine Simpson, Rory Sheridan, Ruth Cross, David Lilburn, Jen Chesters, Hayley Rawlings, Julia Ammon, Lynne Mackie and Cathinka Guldberg) for putting on an awesome and inspirational weekend.

Here are some quotes from attendees:

BBC Lifeline Appeal with Scroobius Pip

In November, our Lifeline Appeal went live on the BBC, fronted by the incredible Scroobius Pip and featuring our members Jordan Halkier, Naheem Bashir and Mandy Taylor (and son). We had a fantastic response to it on social media and to our appeal for funds. If you missed it, check it out here and please donate if you can.

What have BSA supporters been up to?

International Stammering Awareness Day (ISAD) on 22nd October just gets bigger each year and lots of you went out of your way to get the word out. Check out our run-down of what BSA members got up to this ISAD.

Five new self-help groups in Grimsby/Cleethorpes, Liverpool, Mansfield, Mendips and Medway were set up by people wanting make a difference in their local areas. (If you've never been to a self-help group, why not see if there's one in your area).

The Defence Stammering Network celebrated its 3rd birthday in July at the House of Lords, no less. The network, set up by Captain Jimmy Lang and Walter Scott also featured in a documentary for Forces TV.

Rory Sheridan made the headlines over the summer when his immersive audio-visual art installation was featured in Evening Standard and later showcased at the conference.


In June, another bunch of adrenalin-junkies climbed Scotland’s 3,000m Mount Munro for the Walk & Talk 2018, a BSA/Scottish Stammering Network collaboration. Don’t miss the next one in 2019 - keep an eye on our website for news.

Several of you donned your lycra and ran for the BSA this year: John Atkins completed the London marathon, Robert Mann ran the Paris and Berlin marathons, Rob Grieve and Susannah Beale did half-marathons, and Phillip Robinson ran the Crystal Palace 10K.

In a first for the BSA, Gemma Townley vowed to (temporarily) curb her potty mouth by giving up swearing in the run up to International Stammering Awareness Day. It’s a good job she struggled, as she handed over £100 from her swear jar (along with donations from friends).

If we’ve missed anyone out, please forgive us but thank you all for your brilliant efforts throughout the year, we appreciate it all!

All change at the BSA

What a year of transition it’s been! We sadly said goodbye to Chief executive Norbert Lieckfeldt, who left for pastures new (read Norbert’s farewell article), Education Officer Cherry Hughes (read about Cherry’s achievements) and Webmaster/former Editor of our old magazine Speaking Out, Allan Tyrer, who both retired.

Farewells were also said to ESN Membership Manager Helen Carpenter and Accountant Bernadette Crowley. There isn’t enough space here to express the extent of our thanks and gratitude to all five of them, but they're sorely missed.


A new era

Jane Powell was appointed the new BSA Chief executive in May. Jane, Founder of the charity CALM, said:

‘It is an honour and a huge responsibility to be leading such an important organisation. The mission, over the next five years, is to create a robust organisation capable of supporting and advocating on behalf of its members, to seek early and effective therapy for children and, ambitiously, to end the discrimination and prejudice facing those who stammer."

Read more about Jane here.

Owen Simon’s legacy

We received sad news in March, when long-time BSA supporter Owen Simon sadly passed away.

Owen very kindly bequeathed a considerable legacy to the charity, one that will help us put Jane’s exciting and ambitious 5-year plan into motion (including her proposals to rebrand the BSA - more on that in the new year) and truly transform the charity.



New Trustees and staff

We had an unprecedented shortlist of 18 people (!) vying to join our General Committee board, and after a hard-fought contest, our new Trustees are Naheem Bashir, Abed Ahmed, Betony Kelly and Christine Simpson.

With Owen's legacy, we've been able to expand our staff team: we’ve got a new Salesforce administrator, Ahmad Al Hasani, a new Web editor, Steven Halliday, and Office Manager Jacqueline Fitzsimmons went full-time. In November we landed something of a coup when we appointed Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist Rachel Everard as the brand new Service Director. Also joining the team in the new year will be our new Communications Director, Kate Dickson. A growing team means we'll be able to spring into 2019 able to do more for people affected by stammering.

Extra special thanks go to Maria Larkin, John Ford and Sharon McEvoy for being such outstanding and dedicated volunteers here at BSA HQ throughout the year. Thanks also to our helpline volunteers Roger, Ann, Sarah, Michael and Claudia. We couldn't do what we do without you!

2019 is lining up to be a cracker of a year, so come along with us for the ride.

From all of us here at the BSA, we hope you have a very merry Christmas and a fanastic New Year!