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Posted: 10th May 2024

Picture this!

SWAP available once again

One of our most popular projects at Sycamore Trust is available once again thanks to a much-needed boost in funding. Speak With A Picture (SWAP) was paused last year, but has begun to welcome new families again, after Sycamore Trust was successful with two separate funding bids.

In December last year, we applied to the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s NCIL fund, and we were delighted to learn that our bid had been successful. As a result, SWAP re-started in Barking & Dagenham ten weeks ago. In addition, we also applied successfully to the Openwork Foundation, which means that we are also able to offer Speak With A Picture to families in Havering and Redbridge again and the first group of new families from Havering start their programme next month.

SWAP began in 2018, thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need, and we have been able to help and support dozens of families in that time. The programme very quickly became one of the most popular and important services offered by Sycamore Trust. However, the project paused in 2023 as we prepared our future funding bids. Despite that hiatus, the waiting list continued to increase, such was the demand for the programme, and we are thrilled that the funding from NCIL and the Openwork Foundation has enabled us to invite new families to start their communication journey.

Speak With A Picture (SWAP) is a project aimed at pre-school children aged 2-4 years old. The programme is designed for children who experience social and communication difficulties and supports them and their families to learn to communicate using symbols. However, in recent years, it has become more than just a communications programme, as we offer support for families in areas such as toilet training, attention and listening and play skills. The programme is made up of parent sessions and individual child sessions. The parent sessions inform parents on how to implement the programme at home and the child sessions are designed to suit the individual needs of each child, working with parents to model listening and play skills and provide them with the tools and technique to support their child to become an independent communicator using symbols.

Parents can self-refer their child using the form on the Sycamore Trust UK website and we also accept referrals from professionals. To find out more, go to; https://www.sycamoretrust.org.uk/our-services/swap