An independent charity for people with learning disabilities

Positive Voices Conference

Lewisham People’s Parliament – Our time at the Positive Voices Self Advocacy conference in Birmingham


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


a woman in a yellow T shirt reads a speech holding a microphone
Aisha opens the conference

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

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

Aisha also said ‘It was really busy, in a good way. It was good meeting people and getting different perspectives. The speakers were all really good and Dance Syndrome were great. It brought people together and I hope we can stay in touch. I’d like to have another conference next year.’

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 Peter & Friends books will be about self-advocacy and we can’t wait to see it!

A social movement – #SelfAdvocacyWorks

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.

a group of people in bright T shirts listen while standing in front of a screen that says # self advocacy works
Aisha and Sam with colleagues present about #SelfAdvocacyWorks

Lewisham Speaking Up has been one of the main groups pushing the #SelfAdvocacyWorks movement, along with Sunderland People First and Bemix from Kent. 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. Self-advocacy has helped me to speak up for myself more. Overall it was really good to meet other people.’

Dudley Voices for Choice who hosted the conference even 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.’

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