The Sequal Trust look back at the amazing wrk they have done over the last 50 years.
50 years of making it possible for everyone to have a voice and to be heard! Some of our current Trustees have been involved with Sequal for over 30 of these years and have experienced the change in equipment available to make this happen. What started out as a good idea all those years ago in 1969 has remained constant over the years, spearheaded by some incredible people who experienced first-hand how it felt to have an opinion but not be able to get their feelings across to others because of physical restrictions, and who found a way to do this with the help of some amazing scientific brains able to develop the wide range of communication equipment which is now available.
In the early days, the cost of the devices developed to help people to communicate could be restrictive, and the role of Sequal was to make them available to everybody regardless of their financial position. We still follow this policy, and take into account that when a family is looking after a relative with additional needs, the associated expenses are considered. NHS England now have a specific budget for communication aids which is a huge step forward, but unfortunately the budget is not enough to cover the needs of everyone, and if an applicant does not meet the exact criteria required then assistance can be refused. This is where The Sequal Trust steps in to help by setting up a fundraising campaign for that person, after taking into account recommendations from healthcare professionals or teachers as to what equipment would best suit the needs of their patient. We then approach grant giving organisations, charities local to the applicant, anyone we think may help to finance the provision of the equipment. If we don’t raise the money required within a few months, then we will top up cases from our general funds to ensure that the member we are helping gets the device they need, which can make such a difference to their lives, as soon as possible. Cost of equipment varies dramatically, from an iPad with communicational software which can cost a few hundred pounds to eye-gaze equipment which can cost many thousands of pounds.
During the year we provided equipment to the value of £180k throughout the UK, providing 50 members of all ages with the ability to communicate.
The range of equipment we provide is wide, and geared to the needs of the individual. From very simple things, like being able to join in with the world around you, being able to play your favourite music without having to ask someone else to put it on for you, being able to join in with social media, having the equipment to further one’s education and take up employment, to being able to develop scientific theories, to write books, to become a stand-up comedian – these are all paths which have been taken by amazing people using the type of equipment we provide.
We would not be able to help all of these people without the generosity of organisations and individuals who help us financially. Their donations are vital to our existence and our ability to help the number of people we do. Thank you to the individuals who have remembered us in their wills and left substantial legacies to Sequal. We appreciate all the financial help we receive from you all, whether it be by way of general donations, specific donations to individual cases, or legacies. Also, a big thank you to those who organise fundraising activities to help our members. We couldn’t do it without all of you.
We will continue to give a voice to those who need our help, and are always trying to ensure that those people are aware of us and what we do via our attendance at exhibitions and road shows, advertisements in disability magazines, contact with local NHS hubs and Speech and Language Therapists through the UK.
It is amazing when members visit our stand at Disabled Living events and demonstrate the equipment we have provided, or send letters and cards to tell us what a difference it has made to their lives. For our staff and trustees to see this first-hand is very rewarding.
All of us at The Sequal Trust will keep doing all we can to continue making a difference, and to give everyone what most of us take for granted – the ability to communicate.
Here’s to the next 50 years!
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