Stephen Hall, Chief Executive of The Makaton Charity, gives an update on how we at the Charity are working to support you, our wider Makaton family, during the current situation.
Hi my name is Stephen and I’m the Chief Executive at The Makaton Charity and I want to update you on how we at the Charity are working to support you, our wider Makaton family.
This past week has seen a seismic change to all our lives, with schools closed, travel and movement restricted, and families and love ones separates in ways we would not even have considered possible even a few days ago.
This is a frightening and unnerving experience for everyone, but even more so for those with a learning disability or communication need; and we at the Makaton Charity are committed to doing all we can to support our community of users and the wider network of tutors, to get through this period.
Over the past week, The Makaton Charity has been working hard to establish an effective remote working environment, and I’m pleased to confirm that we are now fully operational, with all telephone lines and emails working, and our online ordering and product dispatch systems fully in place.
But we now need to up our game even more, with our community effectively locked down, we are working to provide an ever growing range of digital support and services to our network, with weekly downloadable resources for parents and families on our website, sign posting to key partner activity, such as those provided by Singing Hands; together with a growing list of support materials developed and shared via the wider tutor network.
This time at home, also provides a unique opportunity to move the learning of Makaton into an online environment. So, I can confirm that we are running a number of pilot Webinars this week, based around the Zoom platform. Over the next few days these pilots will feed into the same formal guidance for our tutor network, so that over the coming weeks more people can learn and refresh their knowledge of the Makaton language programme. So that we can ensure that the excellent standards of learning delivery are maintained, can I ask our Tutor network to hold fire on web-based delivery until these guidelines are published early next week.
But we need to go further still, I’m therefore pleased to confirm that we are ramping up our efforts to setup and deploy our Makaton Hub initiative. This will for the first time provide Users and Tutors alike with a central place to advertise and book onto Makaton network trainings, be that online or face2face; together with a membership platform providing a central space where individuals who use Makaton will be able to come together and share ideas and resources and access and search our database of over 14,000 signs, symbols and videos. Testing will start soon, so if you are interested in helping us to develop and test this exciting resource, keep an eye on our website for further information on how you could get involved.
In closing, can I thank everyone for their many of emails, texts and Facebook posts of support and encouragement. We at the Charity are committed to do our bit to help our community and nation get through this difficult time, and as a plea to our innovative tutor network – if you have any downloads or materials you would like to share, do email them to the office and we will make them freely available and credit you for the idea provided.
Announcements are coming each week via Facebook, Twitter and our website so keep checking, and I would encourage you if you are not already sign up to join the Makaton Newsletter which can be found on our website.
Thanks for everything you are doing, collectively we can get through this. Keep safe and keep signing.
Thanks for listening