Following the annual Communication Matters conference, MEETinLEEDS were thrilled to follow up with Laith Ritchie, a 16-year-old augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) user who attended the conference last year and has been making incredible contributions to the sector over the last 12 months, demonstrating the lasting impact and legacy of conferences.
Communication Matters is the UK’s leading AAC event and a unique forum with an array of representatives across multiple disciplines, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants and professionals. Laith first attended the conference in 2018, and just one year later, achieved the Rising Star Award at Communication Matters’ very first awards ceremony, highlighting his huge achievements over the last year. Inspired by his time at the conference, Laith applied for a job as an AAC mentor and was thrilled to have been offered a permanent position in April this year. Laith now delivers training to parents, carers and schools who are new to supporting an AAC user, and his involvement in the AAC sector has generated invaluable support in a sector that relies heavily on volunteers.
A successful conference is crucial in creating a space for like-minded people to network and build new relationships, enabling individuals and industries to make huge advances. Laith’s contribution to the AAC community is the result of a successful conference, but it doesn’t end there. MEETinLEEDS will continue to capture the lasting impact and continuing value of these events on organisers and attendees, sharing the stories of those who’ve been inspired at events like the Communication Matters conference.
The team at MEETinLEEDS have also been recognised for their outstanding efforts in ensuring that venues are inclusive and accessible for all. At the Academic Venue Awards this year MEETinLEEDS were the proud winners of the Best Accessibility Award for the third year in a row. Communication Matters is an event that perfectly demonstrates the performance and versatility of the spaces operated by MEETinLEEDS.
Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for the hard work and dedication of our teams over the last 12 months with the Best Accessibility award. Our customers are our inspiration and they closely work with us, and with our wider teams, to ensure that we deliver facilities and services that enhance their delegates’ experience. The Academic Venues Awards provides a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work taking place across academic venues, and we’re extremely proud to sit alongside our friends from across the sector.”