An independent charity for people with learning disabilities

Autumn Newsletter

Dear Friends and Supporters,

There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment – for charities and individuals – as we continue to hear about the rise in the cost of living. Many people with learning disabilities are struggling because of rising costs and other inequalities. The staff team at Lewisham Speaking Up feel we have to stay positive: we all agree that we must continue to work hard to offer good advocacy to help as many people as possible.

Given the difficult times, we hope to make our AGM this year a fun and enjoyable event.

Please come along to the Deptford Albany (Red Room) on 30th November from 4pm – 7pm to hear about the good work we’ve been doing. Food and drink, music and ‘hopefully’ dancing will follow.

If you would like to come, please RSVP to:

Cost of Living Speaking Up Group

Michelle, our Money Management Advocate, and Will, our CEO, hosted a special Speaking Up Group in August about the cost of living. 27 people with learning disabilities came to the event and heard about how they can get help from government grants and utility companies. We also gave a presentation on how people can cut costs around the home.

Lunch & Learn Success

We are very proud of Lisa our Health Ambassador for Lewisham. On 21 September Lisa made history by being the first adult with a learning disability who presented and got involved with a Lunch & Learn session. These health training sessions are organised by the Lewisham CEPN Training Hub.

During the session Lisa talked about the Health Ambassadors Project and what we hope to achieve. It was a good opportunity to learn how accessible health services are for people with learning disabilities. She then shared her lived experience of Annual Health Checks.

Lisa felt that the session was very valuable and she enjoyed it very much.


First Roadshow Event!


On Tuesday, September 27th the Ignition Brewery in Sydenham was abuzz with our very first Roadshow event.

The energy was good with people sharing tables and chatting, making new friends and connecting with familiar faces.

With her fancy hats, our Parents Advocate, Gemma started things off with her little basket of objects.

People chose something from the basket to show all the different things the Parents Group discuss.

Along with hosting the Parent’s Group, Gemma also explained she supports parents with learning disabilities with solicitors, in court and understanding letters and the legal system.


Jenny, our Community Advocate told people about her role delivering 1-2-1 advocacy. 

Jenny asked people to pick something out of her ‘Advocacy Hat’ to show all the different issues that advocacy can help with. 

People shared some of their stories of when they received advocacy in the past and how it helped them.

Our Money Management Advocate, Michelle, commanded attention with her humour and the mystery envelopes she handed out. People found pictures in the envelopes showing all the different things Michelle can help with – council tax, benefits, debt, etc. 

There was a lot of discussion about how money can really affect your life and how important it is to get help to understand your money.

The energy was good with people sharing tables and chatting, making new friends and connecting with familiar faces. After so much information sharing we all enjoyed lunch together. New bonds were formed and old ones rekindled. Overall a great success for our first Roadshow.

We’d like to thank Nick for generously hosting us at Ignition Brewery. It’s a lovely, warm, informal space and perfect for our Roadshow.

For your Diary! 

Besides our AGM on 30th November, we are very excited about Big Health Week running from 7th – 11th November. The event is hosted by the South East London Health Ambassadors Programme.

8 Health Ambassadors from Lewisham, Lambeth, Southwark, Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich will help to run fun activities about health over the week. The health ambassadors are people with learning disabilities and autism who are giving people a voice about health.

It will take place online and in person. For more information email:

 – CEO, Will Davies


a woman in a yellow T shirt reads a speech holding a microphone

Latest People’s Parliament Report

3 members of the People’s Parliament presented at the Positive Voices self-advocacy conference in Birmingham. Aisha, Peter and Sam all spoke at the conference which they helped to plan with other self-advocates from around the country.

Aisha opened the conference with a great speech that got everyone fired up for the day.

Aisha said ‘I was a little bit nervous opening the conference, but I felt proud of myself at the end’.

Peter presented with colleagues including Learning Disability Nurse Steve Hardy from Oxleas NHS and self-advocate Lloyd Page.

They spoke about their ‘Peter & Friends’ series of books. The books share the stories of people with learning disabilities on different subjects. Peter said ‘It was really good. I just told it as it was.’ The third in the series of books will be about self-advocacy.

a group of people in bright T shirts listen while standing in front of a screen that says # self advocacy works

Aisha and Sam then teamed up with other self-advocates from around the country to talk about 50 years of self-advocacy in the UK. They also spoke about the social movement #SelfAdvocacyWorks.

Lewisham Speaking Up has been one of the main groups pushing the #SelfAdvocacyWorks movement. Our aim is to raise the profile of self-advocacy and already more groups are starting to use the hashtag.

Sam said ‘It was great telling everyone about our self-advocacy works idea. It’s important for groups to work together so they can help each other.’


Dudley Voices for Choice who hosted the conference had T shirts made that included #SelfAdvocacyWorks!

We hope to be involved in more national self-advocacy conferences next year representing the good work we do in Lewisham. As Peter says ‘Self-advocacy works for everyone. It helps people with learning disabilities to have a better life and spread their wings.’

Anything else we can help you with?

  • If you are a parent with a learning disability or autism, contact Gemma on 07926 529 595 Tue – Fri.
  • If need help with benefits or having trouble with money, contact Michelle on 07565 280 157 Mon – Thu.
  • For anything else call the office on 020 8692 1862

Phone: 020 8692 1862

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