I first came to Lewisham Speaking Up in July 2019 because I needed some help with a benefits tribunal. I heard about the advocacy service through my housing association, so I came along to get some 121 advocacy support. I found the advocate helpful and friendly and he also told me about a men’s group at Lewisham Speaking Up. I decided to join the men’s group in November and wasn’t sure what to expect at first. I found the group very welcoming and friendly and the staff weren’t judgmental and made sure everyone had a turn to speak and be listened to. I think the men’s group is a really important one to have for Lewisham Speaking Up, as it’s confidential and a place to say what’s on your mind.
After a little while, I started joining other self-advocacy (speaking up) groups like the People’s Parliament and the Big Group. I think self-advocacy is important and it’s good to share your views and express your opinions in a bigger group. It’s also good to hear what other people’s thoughts and ideas are about issues in the local area and in the wider world.
Marsh, who ran the men’s group, suggested that I should try and go for a role as a trustee at Lewisham Speaking Up. I had an interview and I was voted onto the board as a trustee in….(date)
I’ve never been a trustee for an organisation before and I feel quite inspired and empowered. I’ve got responsibility, not just for myself, but for the whole organisation and that gives me confidence in myself and makes me feel proud.
I’ve never really been involved with an organisation before that has let me showcase my talents in the kind of way that Lewisham Speaking Up has. Just because you have a learning disability, it shouldn’t stop you from doing things in life.
I believe that if you feel like you’ve got something to give to an organisation and you feel you could be a trustee, then go for it.