British Stammering Association

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Duration: 10 minutes

Pop and musical theatre star Gareth Gates makes an appeal on behalf of the British Stammering Association, the UK's national charity that offers support to adults, children and families who are affected by stammering.

The film features four-year-old Zachary, who suddenly developed a severe stammer just after his third birthday, making him so distressed he felt he could not speak anymore. But with the help of the British Stammering Association, Zachary got the help he needed through early intervention speech and language therapy. He is now back to the happy, confident boy he was before.

  • Donate online now

    Donate online now

    Please donate by going to the website or by calling 0208 983 1003. If you’d like to post a donation please make your cheque payable to ‘The British Stammering Association’ and send it to 'The British Stammering Association, 15 Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PJ'.

    The British Stammering Association
  • Gareth Gates

    Gareth Gates

    It’s widely known that I have a stammer. It’s something I have struggled with all my life. I know only too well what it’s like to struggle to communicate during school years, to be bullied or singled out due to an affliction that you just can’t control.

    That’s why I am supporting the BSA and the work they do, helping adults, children and their families who are affected by stammering.

    Many children, some of them very young, need help now so the BSA’s work on early intervention in young children is particularly important to me. I’m a parent now myself, and understand how important it is to get the right help for your child at an early age.

  • The British Stammering Association

    The British Stammering Association

    Imagine not being able to say your own name, or order your favourite drink. Imagine your son or daughter not being able to say “Mummy” or “Daddy.”

    Over 750,000 children and adults throughout the UK have a stammer. Many more friends, family members and colleagues are affected by stammering – feeling helpless and unable to support their son, daughter, spouse, friend or colleague.

    The British Stammering Association (BSA) is the UK’s national charity for both children and adults who stammer. Run by people who stammer, we understand that it isn’t always easy to talk about stammering but we are here to help. We help young children who stammer by giving their parents vital information on ways to access early intervention speech and language therapy. We help school-aged children who stammer by giving their parents and teachers information and training resources on what they can do to help these children reach their full potential.

    For adults who stammer we help by providing them with places and spaces to talk about stammering without judgement or shame. We also provide resources to inform their employers, spouses and friends about what they can do to help.

    Our Lifeline appeal sheds light on the often hidden struggle faced by stammerers to let their voices be heard. We hope you feel inspired by these courageous real-life stories. There is more work to be done to reach out to those who still feel alone and unable to cope with stammering.

    With your help this work can continue.

    Thank you.

  • Heidi


    31-year-old Heidi has had a severe stammer all her life. She stammers on one in three syllables and often finds speaking tiring.

    Heidi's stammer has always made her feel like an outsider but she was determined it would not hold her back. She excelled academically, gaining a first class degree.

    However, when she began to pursue her chosen career as a psychologist, she was told she may never be accepted in the job with her stammer. She said it was heart-breaking to be told that her stammer would stop her leading the life that she wanted to lead.

    Fortunately, the British Stammering Association gave Heidi guidance and support so she could finish her studies and she is now working as a clinical psychologist. Without the charity's help, she said, she may never have managed to lead the life she dreamed of. "The support that they gave me changed my life. Because now I’m doing a job that I love."

  • Zachary


    Zachary is 4 years old. 18 months ago, he suddenly developed a severe stammer. He began to struggle with the beginning of sentences and was unable to get his words out. He became very distressed at this sudden change, Zachary's mum, Maria said, "he would put his head in his hands and he would say my words won’t come. I can’t speak anymore." As his stammer got worse, Maria worried how he would cope in the future, "he became quite introverted and didn’t want to interact with other children. I felt that it might affect his whole school life."

    Maria contacted the British Stammering Association who told her that if Zachary had speech and language therapy before the age of 5, he would have the best possible of chance of recovering normally fluent speech. The charity helped her find a speech therapist for Zachary and his speech quickly improved. Maria said, "people who meet him now would never be able to tell he was a stammerer. He’s back to the happy confident boy we had before."

  • Behind The Scenes

  • Filming at the stammering support centre

    Filming at the stammering support centre

  • Gareth recording his piece to camera

    Gareth recording his piece to camera

  • Gareth being filmed in the dressing room

    Gareth being filmed in the dressing room

  • Filming in the auditorium

    Filming in the auditorium


Gavin Ahern
Executive Producer
Gary Hunter


Amounts raised


Lifeline has helped raise money for hundreds of charities across the UK and abroad.

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