Speak Out Newsletter

December 2021

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From Speak Out (1)

Speak Out's Winter newsletter

‘Hello all

In recent months Speak Out has been focussing our attention on reintroducing more face to face work and linking up with the people with learning disabilities we have lost touch with during the pandemic. Obviously, the news that there is a new covid variant is a concern but at the moment, we are continuing our carefully planned work but ready to change how we operate a short notice if necessary.

Our attention is firmly on the future and our newly agreed strategic plan. This plan was created on the back of the advocacy needs assessment we carried out in early 2021 which involved gathering the views of 120 people locally including people with learning disabilities, local stakeholders, Speak Out staff and volunteers. Copies of the Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan can be found on Speak Out’s website. Our Strategic Plan prioritises the need to reach more people with learning disabilities by developing new projects that increase and strengthen both self-advocacy and individual advocacy, to raise the profile of people with learning disabilities and the issues they face and to ensure that the work we do has a positive impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities locally and beyond.

In the meantime, we are approaching the festive period so here’s wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and Peaceful 2022


Director of Speak Out

Learning Disability and Autism Leaders' List Award

Being Heard in Gov Group 20cm x 15cm

We are so proud to announce that our self-advocacy group, The Being Heard in Government Group (BHIG) were awarded a place in this year’s Learning Disability and Autism Leaders' List. The #LDALeadersList awards are run by Dimensions in partnership with Learning Disability England and VODG. The list honours the remarkable achievements of people with learning disabilities and autism from around the country. Members of the group were presented their award at a star studded online awards ceremony by one of the countries most renowned self- advocates, Gary Bourlet from Learning Disability England.

The Being Heard in Government Group are a force to be reckoned with. They not only challenge decision makers to be more inclusive; they have helped make democracy more accessible. By being present, working hard to understand complicated issues and representing other people with learning disabilities they are making sure the issues important to people with learning disabilities are heard. Their achievements are astonishing and include, meeting with the Minister for Democracy and presenting him a report on the barriers faced by people with learning disabilities in having their democratic rights met;  Working with the Mental Capacity Act Amendment Team in Parliament to ensure that the rights of people with learning disabilities were considered when changes were being made to the legislation; Working with all local political Parties to ensure they understood the need for accessible information during election campaigns; Speaking at local demonstrations and public debates to ensure their views were heard; organising accessible hustings events during the election campaigning period so that people with learning disabilities had the opportunity to be involved in local and national democracy.

We are in awe of the continued commitment to the BHIG group by all of the members, most of whom have been attending meetings every 2 weeks for the last 8 years, so we would like to congratulate all of the members who are  : Katie Lord, Jamie Larcombe, Andy Saunders, Gayle Driver, Stuart McCallion, Rohan Lowe, Ian Metherell, Kevin Sutton and Michael Harris for their well deserved recognition.  We would also like to thank our amazing volunteer, Shelley Brown for her support of the group.

If you would like to join the group, or know anyone who might like to get involved – please email [email protected] or phone us on 01273421921

BHIG Group

Members of the BHIG Group

Covid stories from the Learning Disability Community 

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We are pleased to introduce a new project at Speak Out called 'Covid Stories from the learning disability community' that is funded by the Big Lottery Awards for All.

Take a look at the short film introducing the new Speak Out project:

Speak Out Covid Stories Film

We will be collecting stories from people with learning disabilities about their experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. We think it’s important to hear about the experiences of local people with learning disabilities, the challenges they faced and how they coped.

In particular we want to involve people who did not have access online and were very isolated during lockdowns. We know that it's been a really difficult time, but people have found amazing ways to cope, support each other and learn new skills during the pandemic, we want to celebrate this too.

The project will run for a year and we would like to collect lots of stories of local people. People will be able to choose how we record their stories. This could be using film, sound recording or writing and photos.

We will also run some art workshops so people can tell their stories visually. We will share the stories on Speak Out's website, the 'Surviving through Stories' website and and in an exhibition at the end of the project.


If you would like to get involved and share your story OR if you would like to volunteer on our project please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

We look forward to hearing from you.


Social History of Learning Disability - Open University Online Event

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Open University have an event about the history of people with learning disabilities and 3 key anniversaries in their history.

Speak Out members will be showing a film at the event and will give a short presentation about their history.

Social History of Learning Disability - online Keeping in Touch free event.

Wednesday 8th December

The event will focus on marking three key anniversaries in the recent history of learning disability in England and Wales:

• Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped White Paper 1971
• Valuing People White Paper 2001
• Winterbourne View scandal 2011

Join us for presentations from self-advocates who will be reflecting on lessons learned from the history, and what else needs to be done. This will be followed by a Q&A session with our expert panel - Gary Bourlet (Learning Disability England); Rob Greig (architect of Valuing People); and Stephen Unwin (author and journalist, and proud father of Joey).

For details of how to register for the event, which will be on Zoom, please click this link

Information signInformation about Speak Out's services


Speak Out Helpline 

Speak Out Drop-In Sessions

Speak Out Information Hub and Chat Group

Our helpline continues to support anyone with a learning disability who needs to contact us for help.  Telephone helpline01273 421921 Monday-Friday, 9-5pm

Speak Out's Drop-In Sessions

Most of our drop-in sessions are now returning to face to face meetings, but we are cautiously returning to this way of working and will keep an eye on the number of Covid cases in the city. Please keep looking at our website and Facebook page for details.

Tuesday and Wednesday Drop-In

Tuesday and Wednesday

2pm to 4pm

Meet Emma, who will be running our Tuesday and Wednesday drop-in sessions for the next couple of months.IMG_2726

Countdown to Christmas

The countdown to Christmas is on its way!
This year, the Tuesday and Wednesday drop-in participants have decided to create an online advent calendar by designing and decorating stars. Everyday from the 1st December there will be a new star taking centre stage on our social media.
If you can't come along to the drop-in, but would like to join in, we can send you a star to decorate, please contact us 👉 [email protected] or ☎️ 01273 421921

Speak Out East is on every:


You can attend the session or join everyone online.

11am to 1pm face to face

11am to 1pm Zoom Chat

More Online Speak Out Drop In Sessions

6.30 to 8

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Annual Health Checks and Health Action Plans

The Thumbs Up team delivered a Zoom session about Annual Health Checks and Health Action Plans to Grace Eyre. The session aimed to inform people with learning disabilities about why these checks are important, what they are and what they will be like.

Percentage of people on the learning disability register having annual health checks in Brighton and Hove:

  • 2019/20 =   37.5%
  • 2020/21=  54.4%

This is an increase of 16.9% from March 2020 to Mach 2021.

Transitions - Supporting Young People

In the last week of November Speak Out delivered four Healthy Relationships sessions to a total of 30 young people who attend Team Domenica.

Participants learned to spot the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, found out about ‘mate crime’, staying safe when online dating and answered questions about situations they might find themselves in. Participants also discussed and learned about talking to a trusted person if they were unsure of a situation they found themselves in.

The message delivered was that everyone gets to choose their friends, but that means we also need to look out for signs that something is wrong. Participants were also reminded that they are always allowed to say no, and that it’s always OK to ask for support.

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I learned lots of new things in the session, it was helpful to know signs a friendship might be bad for me. I enjoyed moving around the room to make my choices.

Thank you to our recent funders for their support:

  • Co-op Community Fund


Did you know can shop in a Co-op anywhere in the UK and still support Speak Out? All you need to do is become a Co-op member and choose Brighton and Hove Speak Out. Every time you shop, you are raising vital funds to help support our helpline for people with learning disabilities. #itswhatwedo


  • Big Lottery - Awards for All
  • NHS Charities Together Fund
  • Containment Outbreak Management Fund
  • VCS Covid Recovery

Thank you Pete and Steve

We'd like to say a very BIG thank you to Pete and Steve for choosing Brighton and Hove Speak Out as their chosen charity for their birthday fundraiser on Facebook.
Pete and Steve raised a grand total of £266.93
It's quick, easy and and it's free!
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Brighton Marathon, BM10K and BM Ride 2022

Would you like to run and raise vital funds for a local charity?

Do you already have your own place and would like to support the learning disabled community? Do you know anyone looking for a running or cycling challenge?

Why not take part in the Brighton Marathon Weekend for Speak Out!

To find out more here

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How you can support Speak Out for FREE!

Please remember you can support Speak Out by using @easyuk when you do your online shopping.

Over 6,000 shops and sites will donate to Brighton and Hove Speak Out for FREE. This means you can raise donations when you buy your Christmas gifts and food!

Use @easyuk when you buy anything from decorations and festive food to gifts like toys, jewellery, tech, experiences and more! These donations really help us and all you have to do is use easyfundraising when you’re ordering the things you’ll be buying anyway.

#ThisMeansMore than gifts for loved ones, it means donations that help make a difference!

Please support us and sign up today at: Speak Out Easy Fundraising OR scan the QR code in the picture below.

Our Impact Report 2019 – 2020 (18)

You can also support Speak Out by donating to our JustGiving page and by texting SPEAKOUT£10 or £3 or £20 to 70085.


We hope that you found this newsletter helpful and interesting, if you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected] or call us on 01273 421921