Student Dan finds new voice

Dan, a second-year student, now has his own unique voice with a Walsall accent, thanks to a project run by National Star.

By Matt Walsh · 25/04/2024

A young man with cerebral palsy now has his own unique voice with a Walsall accent, thanks to a project run by National Star. 

Dan, a second-year student at National Star, uses an electronic communication device to speak but he hated his electronic voice, which he said made him sound like a robot. 

“I wanted to sound like my family and where I am from. I am proud of where I come from,’ says Dan. 

Two years ago, Dan launched an appeal on social media to find a voice donor. His local radio station, BBC West Midlands, stepped in to help him find a donor. 

Several people sent in voice samples for Dan to listen to. He chose Eli, who is currently at drama school in New York. 

‘I chose Eli because he has a storytelling sort of voice. He sounded calm and cool, and I loved his accent,’ says Dan. 

Since 2019, National Star has run the Find My Voice project, which enables students to have their own age-appropriate and regional appropriate voice. The project is unique in the country and is funded by grants and donations. 

National Star supported Eli to record more than 2,500 phrases that were then converted into Dan’s new voice. 

‘I love my new voice,’ says Dan. ‘It’s fantastic and it’s made me really happy.’  

For Sarah and Matthew, Dan’s parents, it was an emotional moment when they heard Dan’s new voice. 

‘This has been so important to Dan and to see how the new voice has given him such confidence. We can’t thank National Star enough for making this dream become a reality,’ says Sarah. 

‘Since Dan started at National Star he has developed and grown as a person. He is more independent and has improved his ability to cope with different people and situations.’ 

Catrin Viveash, Head of Fundraising, said: ‘It is thanks to the generous support of trusts, organisations and individuals that National Star is able to run such life-changing projects like this.’ 

Find out more about the project and donate through the Kathryn Rudd Opportunity Fund