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Chat, Change, Inspire

Empowering young disabled people to make a difference Issue 28

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

: @Chat_boxes


or visit our website:

:Chatter Box

Our Chatterbox Project in Wimborne

Since January the 8th we have been settling into our new swish home at The Streetlight Project in Wimborne. The café is large enough to fit young people from all The Chatterbox projects inside, so there’s plenty of space for us to eat a meal together, do project work and of course have lots of fun. Within this project we not only empower members to make a difference but grow old friendships and nurture new ones. Being funny and having fun is really important and together we are learning what else we can do to increase The Chatterbox family and build on those vital friendships. Sessions include supporting our members to achieve AQA unit awards which focus on transitional skills, project work that is guided by young people and a jokes corner where we can polish our skills in making people laugh!

Our sessions focus on how important friendships are, what makes a good friend and how everyone can work as a team. James from the project says: “My friends make me feel happy, they say funny things and funny jokes.” “I like coming to this project because I can be with my friends, it’s fun and I smile lots” says Hannah. Darryl and Alex, from the project, explained that they “Love it here” & “having friends everywhere”.

Friends make the world a beautiful place Sessions take place on Monday’s from 17.00 – 19.00 at The Streetlight Project, Stone Lane Industrial Estate, Wimborne BH21 1HB. If you would like to find out more please contact Julie on 07526 169432 or email thechatterboxes@

Community Connections Our visit to Beaucroft Foundation School. The Chatterboxes were delighted to be asked to deliver a workshop at Beaucroft Foundation Half Term School Holiday Club. As soon as we received the invite, a group of Chatterbox members got together to plan the 3 hour session and decided on the topic which they are passionate about: ‘Celebrating


The Chatterboxes defined individuality as something that sets you apart from everybody else. We will all have things which are the same, but we will always be different and special in some ways. Over the course of a few weeks, the Chatterbox group worked really hard to come up with ideas for activities which we could include in the workshop, using their own past experiences of being bullying for having an individual approach to life to help create a workshop which really celebrated being unique. Activities included a Self-Esteem game to celebrate each other’s individuality, and a ‘Create your own island’ arts and crafts exercise where we could really get to know individual’s unique personality!

The big day came round quickly and we were excited that 16 young people took part in our workshop. There was lots of laughter as we all got to know each other – through games such as ‘Guess Who’ - where we all had to guess each person’s likes and dislikes such as their favourite food or their favourite TV programme. We also enjoyed getting the arts and crafts out to create our own self-portraits to explore the ways in which we view ourselves as an individual.

What did participants think of our workshop? We were grateful to receive 10/10 in the feedback from the session and compliments to the Chatterboxes for their “well organised activities”. Young people in the session said:

“The part where we shared what is good about ourselves made me happy.” “I liked it all. I made a island called Gumball where everyone is nice because being nice is good.” Young participants asked “When are you all coming back to Beaucroft?” The answer to that from the Chatterboxes was, hopefully soon!

Would your school or college benefit from tailored workshops designed and run by young people? To find out more contact Ellie on: 07827848482 or email

Getting our voice heard

YMCA Bournemouth’s Youth Forum Residential

Two Chatterbox members, who represent the project wi took part in a two-day residential at our YMCA retreat c steering group of young people aged 16-25 who repre youth action and make sure the youth work opportu

During the residential, we worked as a team to cre volunteers from overseas, developing young

Young people who attended the residential said:

ithin YMCA Bournemouth’s Youth Forum, called Sandyholme in Studland, Swanage. The Youth Forum is a resent all YMCA Bournemouth youth projects. The aim of the group is to promote unities we provide are relevant to young people in Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset.

eate objectives which the forum will work towards in 2018. Such as linking up more with g leader opportunities, promoting what we do and celebrating youth volunteering.

“I have enjoyed my stay and spending time with all the EVS volunteers. I learnt more about what their role are.”

“Although short, a fulfilled and enriching opportunity.”

“It was fun getting to know everyone better.”

“It was really nice learning from each other and spending time with each other.”

Making a difference We have welcomed lots of visitors to our project who were keen to ensure we were involved in helping them develop different works. Check out some of the projects we have been involved in recently:

• NHS Dorset Health Care

Over the last few months our older group has been advising NHS representatives about their sex and relationship education workshops for disabled young people. Chatterbox members will continue to provide advice and guidance to make sure their training package is suitable for different audiences.

• Bournemouth’s Local Offer

We have been busy sharing our views about Bournemouth’s Local Offer with staff from Bournemouth Borough Council; including guidance about website design, key information needed for young disabled people and how to make sure information is easy to read. For more information about the Local Offer visit:

• Dorset Police As one of our sessions takes place in Bournemouth Town Centre we have recently had several visits from a brilliant PCSO from Bournemouth Central. He has been eager to hear our worries about safety in the town centre and look at ways to improve our communities safety.

A Chatterbox member said: “Tim’s so nice and made us feel relaxed. It was so cool to put his police hat on my head”.

Peer Mentoring

The peer mentors in Chatterboxes have been quite busy over the last few months. We have been helping support Chatterboxes in our weekly sessions with advice about problems like bullying and friendships. It is really important that we provide a safe place where everyone can feel comfortable sharing any worries they may have. We host regular Chit Chat sessions where Chatterbox members can have the chance to voice any problems and get advice from other Chatterbox members as well as through 1:1 sessions between a mentor and mentee.

That keeps us quite busy but we are also currently rebuilding and vastly improving our peer mentoring training package for young people with disabilities. Our current package is not aimed specifically for young people with disabilities and we think that’s really important. We would also love for our older peer mentors to deliver the training to new peer mentors in the future so staff don’t need to be involved. Within the package it is carefully being tailored by peer mentors themselves to make it easy and simple to understand, particularly young people on the autistic spectrum, with activities, images and easy to read information on what makes a smashing peer mentor! We are working hard and as a team in both our younger and older group to create this wonderful package; sharing each others idea’s to make it work fantastically. We even hope it can create more peer mentors with the knowledge and support they can give to others in the future!

“Steps to understanding me”

We sometimes find certain situations very confusing and challenging. Below are some scenarios and advice for possibly making it easier for all of us. I don’t understand sarcasm: Please stick to being literal or warn me afterwards so I do not misinterpret your words.

Don’t assume I am stupid by my diagnostic: Steve Jobs was Autistic – was he stupid? I get anxious when put under pressure: I do my best work when I am relaxed. My mind can wonder whilst listening: Please be patient and test my understanding. Unfamiliar places and people can make me anxious: Please allow me some extra time to get to know you and my surroundings.

Please understand my strange little obsessions (e.g. cleanliness): Our obsessions can make us unique - it could be a lot worse.

Workshops by young people for young people Recycling Workshop Our young EVS volunteer from Italy designed and delivered a workshop about the importance of recycling. The workshop was very informative with how important recycling is and how it can impact the planet if we don’t recycle. There were lots of games and videos where we learnt lots of new information. “I learnt all about how much waste we could save from recycling bottles, paper and how to keep our planet happy and green with the power of recycling!”

Intercultural Workshop

This workshop was run by our young EVS (European Volunteers) from Italy and Spain and our Bournemouth University Student from Zimbabwe where we learnt all about their countries, trying different foods and learnt different words . George, who took part in the workshop said: “I enjoyed learning Spanish Flamenco dancing and speaking different languages. I can now say “Hola””.

Self Esteem Workshop

One of our newest members Chloe felt passionately about the importance of boosting people’s self esteem. She designed games for young members to increase confidence and realise how amazing they are. She said: “ The goal was to reveal good traits about everyone and the results were astonishing. Every Chatterbox was asked to write a good thing about each other and when individuals got their sheets back the smiles on their faces was priceless.”

“Her workshop was phenomenal. It really made everyone feel absolutely fantastic about themselves and even made me feel fantastic too!” “I felt so happy after doing the workshops. I realised I am special.”

The Creative Challenge

We are lucky to have our very own in - house games master who provides weekly games for our groups. Check out some of his puzzles below.

Can you spot 5 difference between the paintings below?

Can you work out what the mixed up words below mean? They are all words linked to our project 1. tthaboxerc

5. maet

2. mnicomtyu

6. inuotever

3. rceffdiene

7. touhy

4. jcropet

8. imwrnebo

Can you find out where all our characters are hidden within the magazine?

Spring 2018  
Spring 2018