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Chat, Change, Inspire

Empowering young disabled people to make a difference Issue 29

For more information about The Chatterbox Project find us on: :chatterboxes

: @Chat_boxes


or visit our website:

:Chatter Box

“During National Volunteer Week, Chatterbox members attended the 2018 Bournemouth Young Volunteers Celebration, along with many other organisations. The annual event, run by Bournemouth CVS in St Marks Church, is a celebration of local youth volunteers aged 13-21 and a showcase of the difference that youth volunteering makes to the local community. There were presentations/speeches about many different youth projects within the community, covering topics from disability awareness, to the environment as well as reasons to volunteer to meet new people and improve confidence and teamwork skills. There was also a speech by the Mayor of Bournemouth who awarded certificates for time spent volunteering.

I gave a speech at the event about the importance of the community awareness events that we run as part of the Chatterbox project, with a particular focus on the event which we organised to celebrate World Autism Awareness week in March. Aside from feeling slightly nervous I really enjoyed being able to share my experiences with many people at the event. It was a fantastic opportunity and most importantly, based on the feedback, I know that many people understood the message which is amazing. It was very interesting to learn about all the different projects which were represented, and meeting the Mayor was a great experience�. By Todd

The Power of Volunteering

Here’s some snippets from our Chatterbox presentation: “My name is Cleo and I am going to be telling you all about peer mentoring within our project, and how we support Chatterbox members during our sessions as well as online. Peer mentors are volunteers who attend sessions and help new and current members to feel more comfortable and happy within themselves. I enjoy supporting other Chatterboxes because it makes me feel really helpful and a great influence and role model to our young members who are less confident. I am able to share my own life experiences and help them find solutions to any troubles they may have.

Being a Chatterbox makes me feel like I am part of an exclusive club. It warms my heart to know that I am part of helping people come out of their shells and be proud of who they are. If you would like to learn about local volunteering opportunities, you can find more information at

Community Connections

For the last few months, Chatterbox members have been busy delivering workshops in local schools across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset. Here are a few examples of what they have been doing:

Swanage Primary School

“I delivered an assembly to pupils of Swanage Primary School all about Disability Awareness. It was fantastic as all the students listened and even most of the teachers managed to behave themselves! They learnt that there are different types of disabilities and how most disabilities are hidden. They were all astonished to learn that the number of people in the world with a disability is around 13.9 million and that having a disability doesn’t have to stop you from doing anything, and you should always follow your dreams. I also explained about the national #endtheawkward Scope campaign, as two-thirds of people apparently feel awkward about disabilities”.

H.I.D.E = Say Hi, Introduce yourself, Don’t panic and End the awkward.

By Natalie

Cambian Wing College in Bournemouth “The Chatterboxes were so happy to go to Cambian Wing College to deliver an Anti-Bullying Workshop. We began by explaining who the Chatterboxes are, then we explained what bullying is: hurtful, repetitive, intentional and involving a power imbalance. We then did a quiz and some games about bullying to see what everyone knew, and spoke about why people felt that way. We explained different kinds of bullying, and talked about the young people’s experiences as well as ways to tackle it in the future. This was the first workshop that I have ever delivered and it was lots of fun. At the end I felt like I was floating as I was so happy”. By Cleo and Michelle

Allenbourn Middle School in Wimborne In April, we ran a Disability Awareness presentation for the whole of Year 8 at Allenbourn Middle School. “I absolutely loved it. I really enjoyed sharing my experience with them, and they all seemed really interested in my disability and how it affects my life. I have a disability called Functional Movement Disorder. This gives me chronic back pain, so I need to push myself to do more, so my back can get stronger. My disability prevented me from doing so much, and I was unable to push myself the way that I needed to. Within our workshop we did a quiz to see what the students thought they knew about disabilities already. The Year 8’s got really involved, by asking questions and answering why they thought those things about disabilities.

It was very enjoyable seeing all the students so interested in what we were speaking about, and wanting to know more about disabilities and how people with disabilities go about their dayto-day lives, and how they can help people with disabilities”. By Heather Michelle who also delivered the workshop said:

Would you or your organisation benefit from tailored workshops designed and run by young people?

“As we began they were very respectful and quiet and as I glanced over they were very focused on what we had to say. As I gave my talk about my disability, despite shaking and changing my story, they didn’t laugh and listened intently.

To find out more contact Ellie James thechatterboxes or ring 07827848482

At the end, we had a Q & A and one boy said he wanted to share some thing that no one in his year knew. He explained that he had a disability. We praised him for on: sharing this with his peers and I then asked the year group “Would you treat him any differently?” and all of them replied “No” which was a positive response”.

Woodland Adventures

We recently teamed up with the RSPB to host our first- ever Chatterbox camping trip at Holton Lee in Poole. The whole experience was amazing. We arrived in the afternoon and had to work as a team to put up our tents. For some of us it was the first time we had stayed away from home and lots of us had never been camping before so we were super excited. Once our tents were up, we helped Rob from the RSPB start the fire and prepared our evening dinner. Rob had made a curry which was really yummy. After dinner we went on a night walk where Rob showed us different animals, insects and birds. We really enjoyed this part although some of our European Volunteers got a little bit scared of the animals and kept screaming.

Chatterbox members said: “I liked to walk in the nature and I really enjoyed making fire. I camped a lot as a child but haven’t done it for years and I really like camping. I like nature too. I also enjoyed the activities and the games around the camp fire. I had fun seeing the birds in the woods too. I hope we can do this again next year”. “ I liked the camping. I enjoyed setting up the tents and walking around the nature reserve. We saw slugs, deer and ants. It was all really fun”. “I enjoyed the experience of camping with The Chatterboxes. My favourite highlight was eating sausages and the vegetarian curry with butternut squash. Then after dinner we went for a long walk and it was fun. Rob from the RSPB showed us lots of things and made the experience amazing”. “At the camping trip my favourite part was to all be together around the fire, having dinner and playing games. I think it was really good trip and everyone enjoyed it a lot; with no incidents”.

Workshops by young people for young people Within our weekly sessions, young people delivered workshops to each other about topics they are really passionate about. Here’s a few examples below:

Vegan Workshop

“I recently organised a workshop for the Chatterboxes on the topic of Veganism. It began with a speech about the definition of Veganism, some common reasons why people choose to go Vegan and the differences between a Vegan diet and Vegan lifestyle. As a group, we then prepared food using Vegan recipes and made bird feeders with vegetable suet”. By Todd

PTSD Workshop

“We chose this subject to deliver a workshop about because we did not know about it and neither did the others so we decided to teach everyone. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is caused by traumatic events such as war and kidnapping. We learnt how to help someone with PTSD - speaking to someone always helps”. By John

“In our wellbeing workshop, we started by drawing a person. This person could have been you or a made-up person. We then wrote about what made them happy and what they did in their spare time.

Wellbeing Workshop

My person was happy because he liked to ride his bike around and he liked to play Xbox in his spare time. We also discussed the importance of noticing your surroundings. Chatterbox members spoke about noticing kindness in others and making shapes in the clouds to relax you if you’re having a stressful day” By Phillip

Animal Magic

We recently visited High Mead Farm which is a working farm in Ferndown where they provide a supported work environment for people with disabilities and mental health issues. John; a Chatterbox member who took part said: “At the farm, we got up to a range of activities including grooming ponies, feeding the chickens, a pottery workshop and a wood workshop. What I enjoyed the most about the trip was meeting all the animals, especially the ponies, as I managed to tame a female pony to be groomed and walked. I even caught a chicken!”

Other Chatterbox Members who hung out at the farm said: • “I enjoyed it lots. The best was the rabbits. I didn’t like the chickens because they bit me.” By Elisa • “The best for me was everything, but especially watching our EVS volunteer Simon trying to catch the chickens which he failed at.” By Torin • “I loved the horses but they were difficult to guide and go for a walk”. By Lauren To find out more about High Mead Farm visit: Email: Phone: 0330 606 0160

Within all our Chatterbox groups we have had the pleasure of many visits from NHS Dorset CCG who have been finding out our thoughts on what works and doesn’t work about community health services for young people and how we can work together to design future services. The survey was called #behearddorset. We thought it was great they had easy read surveys and that they spent lots of time explaining each part of the survey and helping us lots.

They even brought along some yummy snacks which kept us all happy while we were filling out the forms. The NHS Staff were really lovely and explained everything really clearly. Young people who took part said: • One young Chatterbox said: “We filled out some forms which the staff helped us with. It was good to be able to share my story and actually have someone interested in my view about the Health Service” • “It was good as it was interesting, to have a voice and to get ideas to make things better was really good.” By Torin • “It was very interesting, because the voice can be lost and the voice matters.” By James • A young person explained about a time that she hurt herself and ‘felt invisible’ saying: “Getting my voice heard was quite fun and it was good to talk to others.” • “It was all easy to understand and very interesting. I learnt lots more about what the NHS does”.

To find out more about the future of your NHS and how to have your views heard visit:

Making a Difference

Community Events

We love getting out and about to share what we do with the community, and to educate everyone about disabilities and other topics we are really passionate about.

Autism Awareness Event

“For World Autism Week, Chatterbox members held an event to raise awareness. There were activities for all ages including an art workshop, an autism fact treasure hunt, and autism-themed games including
Connect Four, Snakes and Ladders, Jenga, and Hook-a-duck. While the original plan was to hold the event in Bournemouth Square, heavy rain and strong winds on the day made this impossible despite a concerted effort, it had to be moved to Fusion Youth Centre. This was my first Chatterboxes event outside of the weekly sessions. It was an amazing experience. It was really nice to spread awareness of autism, particularly to people who aren’t members of the Chatterboxes. We achieved this through the autism-themed activities and by answering people’s questions as well as handing out Chatterbox leaflets”. “I also learnt many interesting facts about autism. For example, did you know that over 700,000 people If you would like to in the UK are autistic, or find out more about that more than four Autism, I have found times as many boys the following websites as girls are very informative: diagnosed with Autism • National Autism Association: in the UK?”
 By Todd • The National Autistic Society:
 • Ambitious About Autism:


Our Chatterbox Party Every 3 months, Chatterbox members organise a party where all our Chatterbox projects come together to celebrate the fabulous things we have achieved and to showcase our latest magazine. “It was loads of fun, that is how we would describe our last Chatterbox party. Everybody had a really nice time talking to their friends while enjoying the music and the extraordinary food (pizza) prepared by Simone, our EVS volunteer. All in all, the evening was a great success and we are already looking forward to

Feedback from other Chatterbox Members included:

• “It was nice to meet people from the other groups and the people from the council who came to see what we were up to. I also enjoyed running a magazine quiz and the music was surreal.” By James • “I cooked in the kitchen and I was in the arts and crafts area and I really enjoyed it all. I liked spending time with my friends and I think that the launch party was a good opportunity for this.” By Amy • “My name is Jasmine and I enjoyed the karaoke, the food, the award ceremony and hanging out with my friends. I sung Budapest by George Ezra and Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran.” • “We really enjoyed seeing other members dancing, especially break dancing.” By Todd, Jasmine and Elisa • “At the Launch Party I gave a speech on my experiences with the Chatterboxes. It felt really good.” By Josh • “I really enjoyed it. I liked helping in the kitchen and I made a lot of pizzas and I talked with my friends.” By Ellie

We were lucky enough to be chosen to decorate 3 birds. Our Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday groups spent lots of time designing and decorating their birds. Some Chatterbox members visited the final exhibition at Holton Lee, and soon all the birds will be auctioned to raise valuable funds to help the Flourish team.

The Power of Art

The Chatterboxes have recently taken part in the Flourish Flock Community Art Project at Livability Holton Lee. 50 birds were painted by individuals and groups living with a disability in Dorset. Another 50 Flourish Flock birds will be painted by professional artists from the local area.

For more information about Flourish visit:

The Creative Challenge

Chatterbox members have been busy creating some exciting puzzles and drawings for your enjoyment. Can you spot 6 differences in the pictures below?

Can you unscramble the words below which are linked to our magazine? 1. yommuctin 3. basdiility 5. sidrb 2. mevganis 4. ginpamc 6. teernoluv

Where in our magazine are the below characters hidden?

Bertie Breeze

Dwaine Duff

Answers to word scramble:, 2.veganism, 3.disability, 4.camping, 5.birds, 6.volunteer

Felicity Fir

Rainbow Roz

The Chatterboxes Summer 2018 Magazine  

Young Chatterbox members have been busy creating their summer magazines which its full of exciting adventures, information and advice.

The Chatterboxes Summer 2018 Magazine  

Young Chatterbox members have been busy creating their summer magazines which its full of exciting adventures, information and advice.