West Midlands Self Advocacy Network

It has been two weeks since we announced that Dudley Voices for Choice has been successful in applying to the National Lottery Community Fund for money to start a new West Midlands Self Advocacy Network for people who have a learning disability and people who have autism.

It has taken a few years planning and bid writing, then the suspense of waiting for the outcome and the excitement of a surprise announcement to the remaining representatives of what is left of the existing West Midlands forum. However, being able to tell the members that we can not just continue but also expand on the work that they have been doing was amazing.

We are now about to employ 11 learning disability champions and a co-ordinator for the network. The learning disability champion’s will be someone from each area who has a learning disability or autism who will represent a self advocacy group at the network. They will be employed to raise awareness and get the views, opinions and concerns from people in their local areas. They will then come back to the meetings to tell the rest of the network so we can talk about current issues, come up with solutions and make these problems known to authorities like local and national governments, the council, job centres and NHS bodies.

Neil Davies the Chair Person from Dudley Voices for Choice said, “It is important for us to have a voice and for the government to listen to us.” Thanks to the National Lottery Players it will now be possible, for at least another 4 years, to have the opportunity to strengthen the voices of people locally and regionally.