Self-Advocacy ‘Speak Up Groups’

We support 12 self advocacy speak up groups around the county.

A speak up group is held in each main town in Somerset.

Each group consists of a small number of people who use services in the local area. It is the group’s job to represent the other service users in their local area.

The groups meet once every month to discuss things that are important to people who have learning difficulties, such as:

  • Health – Recent feedback from this was presented to the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board. Members have also participated in Health’s Big Check Up.
  • Futures – Members have been consulted on Futures which was fed back via Learning Disabilities services to Somerset County Council.
  • Relationships – Psychologists are making a DVD using information fed back from the Speak Up Group’s consultation on relationship matters.
  • Employment – Members have presented to the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and plan to further discuss with wider membership at our Annual Conference on 16th November 2010. Feedback from this conference will be heard by representatives from Pluss, SCC and Health.
  • Housing – Feedback from group consultations was presented to the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and also to the Housing Forum and subgroup.
  • Human Rights – Information collected on Human Rights was reported back to a group in Bradford who wrote a booklet using Somerset Total Communication.
  • Advocacy – Members were consulted on the future of advocacy provision and presented their views to the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board.
  • PMLD – Somerset Advocacy were funded from the Learning Disabilities Development Fund to research the best method of including the needs of people who have prfound and multiple learning disabilities in the Valuing People Now agenda. Somerset Advocacy members were involved in this process.
  • You First (Personalisation) – Somerset Advocacy is currently consulting members on the You First agenda and have planned further discussion on this subject at our Annual Conference.
  • Transport – Recent consultation on the accessibility of public transport was presented to the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and public transport representatives.
  • Hate Crime – Regular discussions/consul;tations on the subject of hate crime have taken place over the past year, with presentations made to the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board. Members of Somerset Advocacy have also been involved in the making of a BBC documentary on hate crime. Members of Somerset Advocacy have also participated in four ‘BILD for the Future’ meetings at BILD’s offices in Kidderminster, adding the voices of people from Somerset to the national agenda. We have also regularly attended the Regional Forums throughout the year, actively participating in the regional consultations on a variety of Value People Now topics.

One member of each group will be elected by it’s members to represent that group on the Somerset Advocacy Management Committee.

The self advocacy groups are accessible to anyone who uses services and would like to speak up for themselves and on behalf of their peers.

If you or anyone you know are interested in coming along to one of our self advocacy groups, please contact either Jane or Moira (see our ‘Contact Us’ page).