The Starfish Project

At the District Conference PDG Don Merritt introduced a member of his RC of Barnet, Rtn Daniel Orchard who is a recovering stammerer. Daniel spoke about the project Starfish…

The non-profit making Starfish Project has over 11 years success in helping and supporting people who stammer gain control of their speech and lives.

Stammering is one of the least understood problems that is suffered by over 1% of this country’s population. It is rarely talked about and often shunned. It has been the butt of many a cheap comedians jokes resulting in stammering being seen as something humorous – unless of course you happen to stammer.

The Starfish Project runs monthly training courses for young people and adults who stammer, teaching a technique to both control and gain confidence over something that has controlled them.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for stammering. However, Starfish training is specifically designed to give individuals the tools and the confidence to control their stammer in the day to day speaking situations that they will encounter.

Starfish training is on a one to one basis, given by recovering stammerers who use the technique. It combines compassion and care with proven successful methods of diaphragmatic retraining, avoidance reduction therapy and positive attitude development. Free lifetime support is offered to all course attendees, including coming back to refresh on any course without charge. The lifetime support network is a key element to the project’s success.

Starfish and Rotary Perhaps it was more than a coincidence that the Starfish Project decided to base its courses at the Boship Farm hotel at Hailsham, which also happens to be the meeting place of the Rotary Club of Hailsham. From a first invitation to talk to the club a close friendship grew. Starfish were delighted when Hailsham Rotary decided to mark the centenary of Rotary International with a bursary fund to Starfish. This fund has enabled young people, of limited finances, to attend the course.

Starfish involvement with Rotary has grown over the years with talks to many clubs, this resulted in an invitation to talk to District 1250 conference in Jersey, the success of that presentation has since led to invitations to talk to many more clubs, district conferences and to RIBI conference at Bournemouth, April 2010.

We are so pleased to have the chances to talk to so many rotary clubs. This increases public awareness of stammering and the work of the project, whilst also providing the fantastic opportunity for people recovering from stammering to make these presentations and do something that would have impossible before coming to Starfish.

We would also like to say an enormous thank you to the various clubs and individual rotarians who have made generous donations to the Starfish Project to enable people who stammer, with limited finances, to attend the Starfish course. You are truly helping us to make a difference.

Making A Difference For People Who Stammer
Dial House, Nursery Lane, Ridgewood, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 5SE
Tel: 01825 767268
Web site:

About Jonathan Nish - Rotary in London Webmaster

Jonathan Nish grew up and studied in Durban, South Africa. After working in Finance and IT roles for listed companies in the Logistics and Retail sectors in Durban and then Johannesburg, he was persuaded by a friend to take a working holiday to the UK in May 1999 and cash in on the "Millennium Bug". Well over a decade later Jonathan is still in the UK! After spells with a Travel Operator and an internet startup in London, he joined the 1st Contact Group. Jonathan has worked on a number of web and software development, compliance, integration and change management projects and piloted new business units and products. He currently serves Sable Group as Head of IT & Operations. Jonathan and his wife live in Surrey. He enjoys travel and volunteering. Jonathan is an active Rotarian, a Paul Harris Fellow and Past President of the Rotary Club of Putney