Somerset Live: MP congratulates the Weston-super-Mare mum leading a sign language revolution

This article was originally written by Heather Pickstock and published on Somerset Live.

Nikki Holt began the series ‘Makaton with Lucinda’ after her daughter benefited from using the sign language

A mum who set up video tutorials to help people understand Makaton after using the sign language with her daughter has won a prestigious award from the Prime Minister. Nikki Holt from Weston-super-Mare began the series ‘Makaton with Lucinda’ after her daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome, benefited from using the language programme.

Nikki studied to become a Matakon tutor during lockdown. Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols along with speech – to help people with communication.

It is designed to support spoken language and can particularly help children who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Nikki has now made thousands of videos and interactive tutorials to help people understand how to communicate words and nouns in Makaton, including animals, months of the year and religious holidays.

Her videos and tutorials, all available on YouTube, have received over 125,000 views. Nikki said: “Makaton has helped Lucinda so much.

“She is a visual learner so Makaton works perfectly with her strengths. I am so proud of her.

“I studied to become a Makaton Tutor during lockdown as I wanted to be able to help others in the same way as it has helped Lucinda. We have been doing our sign videos for a few years now and she loves doing them.”

Nikki was awarded Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award. Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose praised Nikki for her work to help others.

He said: “Weston can be incredibly proud of Nikki, who has invested her time and talents into creating hundreds of videos to promote and explain Makaton sign language, so more people can communicate with family members, neighbours or work colleagues who use it. The videos are on a YouTube channel that anyone can access anywhere at any time, and the benefits are clear through the beautiful bond Nikki has with her daughter Lucinda, who stars alongside her in the videos.

“I’m delighted the Prime Minister has recognised how important Nikki’s work is and hope that this award brings even more awareness to the YouTube Channel.” Nikki is the 1921st person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.