One minute I’m busy going about my business, the next I look up and see that well over a month’s gone by since I last wrote a blog. How bad is that?! The trouble with leaving it so long, is that there’s then too much to tell you, I can’t fit it all in, and it becomes a nightmare …
So in this blog, there’s no time to tell you about the cheque presentation of £1,000 from 11-year-old Charlie with his specially painted hen that he sold as part of the Haslemere Hens fundraiser (what an amazing donation!).
Nor can I mention our participation in Farnham’s Literary Festival, as we flung our doors open to the public, to hear our Claire speak about supporting children with dyslexia.
Any passing allusion to our recent Spotlight Session about the EHCP process, given by Rachael Allison, is going to have to be given a miss.
Likewise, our appearances at More House School Open Day, the community event at The Shed, Bordon, and Frensham Village Lunch (including over £200 taken in raffle ticket sales) will have to be left out.
Even a passing mention of our dyslexia training sessions with the General Medical Council and Lily’s Kitchen (part of Nestlé Purina) are going to have to be left on the editor’s cutting room floor.
I’m completely gutted that I won’t be able to tell you about Rachael and Katherine’s trip down to visit our friends at Bristol Dyslexia Centre, who are doing great work. (We meet up from time to time to compare notes, and see if there are ways we can work together. Such a shame that I can’t mention it).
So, the only thing there’s room for, is a quick bit about last weekend’s Dyslexia Show, which is the brainchild of Arran Smith, famous advocate of all things dyslexia and wearer of outrageous shirts.
It was an early start, I’m not going to lie. The alarm went off at 4am, I think. Luckily the car was packed already and ready-to-go, despite there having been an evening Trustees meeting on the night before, followed by a bridge lesson back at our house that finished later than any of us can remember.
Having arrived safely at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham at 7.30am, set up the stand by 8.30am and been joined by grown-ups Rachael and Claire (my senior management team), we were all set to welcome the public at 9.30am which is when the Dyslexia Show officially opened. And boy were we busy! A constant stream of interested parties queued up to talk about their experiences of dyslexia in the family, or in their workplace, and were keen to find out how they could be supported by Helen Arkell. Lots of teachers and teaching assistants joined us to find out what training they could receive from us, or to re-engage with us having trained with Helen Arkell in the past.
At the end of the day, Rachael and Claire headed back down the motorway to Oxford and Farnham respectively, leaving me to attend the evening events that brought together all the stand-holders. It was good to catch up with all my colleagues in the field – there’s a real sense that we all work together as best we can, with the common aim of helping more people with dyslexia.
The following morning brought big excitement – not just because our Katherine had arrived (it was just the two of us on the stand this time) but also because there was some sort of Comic Book/Super Hero event going on in the next-door hall, which meant there were hundreds of punters in fancy dress. I’ve never seen so many Batmen and Wonder Women, let alone queued up behind them at Costa. A Dalek very politely let me go ahead of him (her?), as they were torn between a latte or a flat white. (Daleks are notoriously indecisive when it comes to coffee. I think it’s because we tend to have more choices than they’re used to).
Meanwhile, back on our stand, we sold out of nearly all our dyslexia resources. By the time we came home, we had sold nearly £2,000 of stock, most of which cost about £5, so you can tell how busy it was.
Of course, the main thing about shows like this, is to raise awareness of dyslexia in general, and to connect with people, making them aware of the services that we could provide to them. Needless to say, we came home with a long list of contacts to follow-up on, which will be brilliant if they come to fruition.
Big thanks to Arran and his team for organising this event. Let’s do it all again next year!