As the eve of the end of my first month at AVUK draws near, I manage to find a few (rare) minutes of quiet to look back at what I can only call an AVUK baptism by fire.

When our Chief Executive, Anita Grover suggested that I start work at the end of October, her reasoning was that it would be quiet because falling in half term, it was a week when we don’t see children in clinic. Little did I realise however that it was to be a momentous week as AVUK was presented not only with the Highly Commended Charity of the Year title, but also with the Highly Commended Outstanding Individual Achievement Award to our late founder Jacqueline Stokes at the Charity Times Awards. I was already given a reason to feel proud of this brilliant organisation.

The following week, the team hosted a very beautiful and moving ceremony at the LABAN Centre in Greenwich, celebrating Jacqueline’s life and the achievements of the team over the last ten years since it was founded. Many of the children who have been supported since the beginning of the organisation got up on stage, read poems and stories and gave an account of how the charity had helped to give them the confidence to ‘do anything’. As the latest addition to the AVUK family I felt humbled and honoured to be part of this organisation.

It is a pleasure working with such a dedicated team of people who all share a common passion for providing deaf children with the best possible outcomes in speaking and listening. The real highlight of my first few weeks however has been meeting the families of the children who are at different stages of the auditory verbal therapy programme. It is a joy contributing to an intervention which encourages parents to take control of their child’s communication needs and drive their child’s language development.

This has been just about the best start ever to a new job. I’m excited by the coming year ahead and the prospect of helping more families making their own auditory verbal journey.

Thank you to The October Club for making this possible.

Noel Kenely