Solihull Action through Advocacy supports people with learning disabilities to speak up for or with others who share similar experiences to them. We call this peer advocacy.
The peer advocates we work with want to use their voice to achieve greater involvement in their community, uphold their rights as citizens and influence positive change where it is needed. Our staff Peer Team encourage and facilitate peer advocacy projects but it is the peer advocates themselves who inform and lead the way on the work we deliver.
We are currently involved in a number of projects:
The Peer Visitors project is about making sure that people with learning disabilities living in residential homes in Solihull have a voice and are heard. It helps to make sure that people are happy, safe and are living the lives they want to have.
Peer Visitors are people with learning disabilities who go to see their peers at their homes on a regular basis. They spend time talking and listening to them and then report back on their experiences. If there are any changes that need to happen, Solihull Council are informed and they work in partnership to get the issue resolved.
‘Our Lives, your News’ is a publication put together by peer advocates and is published 3 times a year to be read by anyone in the community. The publication tells others on what life is like for people with a learning disability, discusses current issues and celebrates successes. The group come together to decide on the content and the design of the publication and write the articles themselves.
Previous issues of "Our Lives, your News" can be found on our Resources page.
Safer Travel Project
Many people with learning disabilities and autism feel isolated from their local community because they lack the confidence to get around independently on public transport. Our Safer Travel Project is helping to improve this situation for people with learning disabilities in Solihull by facilitating self-advocacy workshops which focus on reducing the fear of using public transport and raise confidence levels. The project also involves the encouragement of a buddying scheme where more experienced peer advocates can support their peers to access transport.
Advo-Acts are a weekly drama group run by and for people with learning disabilities who write and perform their own work with the support of a facilitator to raise awareness about the issues they face in their lives.
The group have produced a number of films which have addressed issues relating to health, housing and employment for people with learning disabilities and have assisted in producing training material for some of our other peer projects.
The group also focus on outreach work where they perform to groups of people within the community to help educate and encourage people to view disability differently.
Advo-chats is social group run by and for people with learning disabilities on a monthly basis with the aim of building the confidence of its members and reducing social isolation through mutual peer support and friendship. The group is supported by our Peer Team but a dedicated committee of peer advocates are the planners and decision makers.
Changing Lives Board
Changing Lives meet monthly to discuss the issues people with learning disabilities face. They work together to make changes happen and improve life opportunities for themselves and their peers. This can happen in various ways; it might be by improving their own knowledge, informing and educating others or by ‘doing something’ on a practical level with the ambition of influencing change.
Solihull Action through Advocacy helps facilitate Changing Lives but the board is an independent group of peer advocates. You can find out more about Changing Lives by clicking HERE.