An independent charity for people with learning disabilities

Newsletter March 2022

Lewisham Speaking Up is still working hard to start in-person groups again following the pandemic.

 

We really want to re-connect with people we lost touch with, and we want new people to join our groups and get help through our advocacy services. 

If you know a person with a learning disability who needs help, please give them our details.

 

We are pleased to have helped 30 people with learning disabilities with digital exclusion recently.

Lewisham Speaking Up received 50 free data SIM cards from Vodafone’s Charities Connected programme. We have given 26 SIM cards, and 30 devices to people with learning disabilities, including students at Lewisham College.

 

We donated 20 SIM cards to Lewisham Mencap. 

 

Peter collecting his free data SIM card!

Comment from a parent of a service user:

‘Thank you for my daughter’s phone. She loves it and hasn’t stopped using it.’

We hope this will help more people with learning disabilities to get online.

 – CEO, Will Davies

Self-Advocacy

Man smiling into camera

People’s Parliament report on the Environment a hit!

Our report giving the views of people with learning disabilities on a number of environmental issues has gone down very well. We were invited to write a blog for the climate change charity Ashden, a well-respected organisation working on sustainable towns and cities.

You can read the blog here https://ashden.org/news/helping-people-with-learning-disabilities-speak-up-on-climate/

 

Our report has also been noted as being innovative in asking people with learning disabilities about a difficult subject. Climate Action Lewisham said:

‘Total respect for going there with people with learning issues: a massively important thing to do and clearly a really interesting experience for all of you. It strikes me reading this that it just says the same thing all sorts of diverse….groups are all saying, expressed in plain English with pictures. We’re all the same in the end.’

Our latest People’s Parliament has been about scams, something that can worry us all. We’ve seen a rise in scams across society, often targeting those that are seen as vulnerable. Our special guest D.I. Dan Parkinson from the City of London police, gave a great talk on scams and how to stay safe, including from romance scams.

Watch out for a report on this subject in the coming months.

1-2-1 Advocacy

Money Management Advocacy Service and Lewisham College sessions

Michelle has been working with the Preparation for Life and Work students! They have been learning about the different amounts of money, how we pay bills and why we must pay bills. We ran a session about what bank accounts there are and what we need to have to set up a bank account.

The sessions have been very positive, and the group have been working very hard!

LSU will be running more workshops for the students at Lewisham College and we are looking forward to working more with Lewisham College.

Read our update in the next Newsletter!

'It’s all about Money' Workshop!

The next Money Management workshop will be about how to budget your money. Come along to find out the best ways to manage your money and why looking after your money is very important!

Phone Michelle on 07565 280 157 to book a place for the next workshop:

  • Thursday 21st of April
  • 10.30am – 12.30pm

Important information about Gas Bills!

Gas bills will be rising and we are all worried about this.

The government has said we can claim £150 back from our council tax bills to help pay for our gas bills.

This is called a ‘rebate’.

You’ll get the rebate if you pay council tax, and your home is in council tax bands A to D. You can find your band on your council tax bill.

 

The government will be giving all households a £200 rebate on their energy bills. They will have to repay this at £40 a year for five years, starting in April 2023.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

You might be able to get £140 off your electricity bill or a £140 voucher for your prepayment meter (card meter).

You can get this under the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you’re either:

  • getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
  • on a low income
  • claiming Universal Credit, income support or jobseekers allowance
  • claiming PIP

 

The gas prices are going up from the 1st April.

If you have a pre-payment meter and you have some extra money or savings, it is a good idea to top up your meter now before the 1st of April.

This is because you will be paying a lower price for your gas.

Phone Michelle for any help or support with your bills.

Mobile: 07565 280 157

 

Health Ambassadors Project

We have lift-off!

We had two firsts in March for the new Health Ambassadors project.

Our first team meeting with all eight Health Ambassadors for South East London took place in Woolwich. It was a chance to meet each other and talk about our new work.  

 

We had a health drop-in event on the 24th March at The Albany. It was an opportunity to tell people about our new Health Ambassadors Project which is a partnership with Advocacy in Greenwich and Advocacy for All and funded by South East London CCG.

Lisa introduced herself as the Health Ambassador for Lewisham and Princess introduced herself as the Health Ambassador for Lambeth.

Dr Esther Appleby led a talk about Annual Health Checks and Emma O’Donnell told people about her role as the Learning Disability Nurse at Lewisham Hospital.

We had workshops where people had their say on their health services.

Hate Crime Training

A Workshop for the Police

The Hate Crime trainers delivered a new workshop for the Police about making communication better for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism.

They enjoyed meeting the new police recruits and hearing what they had to say.

Anything else we can help with?

If you:

  • are a parent with a learning disability or autism, contact Gemma, our new Parents Advocate on 07926 529 595.
  • need help with benefits or having trouble with money, contact Michelle, our Money Management Advocate on 07565 280 157.
  • have other problems, call Philippa on 07521 242 026.

Phone: 020 8692 1862

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