A BALSALL Common teenager raised more than £2,000 for special communication needs at his charity football fundraiser.
Friends, family and supporters of Mikey’s Wish came together at the Hornets football ground in Balsall Common on Saturday (June 9) for the fourth annual family fun day.
Mikey Akers, who suffers from a speech disorder, also held the fun day in support of a campaign for improved communication therapy provision in schools.
The 17-year-old, who has verbal dyspraxia, founded the charity Mikey’s Wish in 2015 to raise awareness of similar conditions.
The fun day had something for everyone with football tournaments, a barbecue and the chance to have a go at a teddy tombola.
There was also a bouncy castle, arts and crafts workshops and a treasure hunt to find specially painted stones hidden around the village.
Mikey said: “We managed to raise £2,180 to go towards helping children in school with their additional needs.
“I am now looking forward to organising next year’s event but making it even bigger.”
Mikey says he was inspired to boost understanding about his condition after hearing about the difficulties his mother experienced when trying to find support for him.
The fun day supported Knowle speech and language therapist Gillian Rudd’s petition to government for greater provision for those with special communication needs.
She has launched a petition calling for the application of the ‘Bercow: Ten Years On’ report recommendations outlining a cohesive approach to managing disorders in schools and the NHS.
She has reached over 8,000 signatures and received high profile support from MPs and comedian Sally Phillips.
Mikey said: “I really do support Gillian Rudd in her campaign.
“As someone who needed years of intensive speech therapy to have any chance of finding a voice others could understand, I know just how important it is that those who need it have access to speech therapy.
“It’s wrong children are having to wait so long to see a speech therapist as early intervention, in some cases, is a must.
“I had speech therapy from two years old until I was discharged at 13 and even now I know that my speech is not perfect.
“I now have anxiety when I am expected to talk to people I don’t know well, as I know my speech sounds still are not right, but at least I can now speak.
“Speech therapists do an amazing job (they helped me find my voice), they just need more support from the government to deal with the greater demand. After all, every child deserves a voice.”