Messages of support

We’re getting lots of encouraging messages from self-advocates, families and allies:


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People First Cumbria:

Sounds excellent… We will take this to our self- advocacy groups! Keep up the good work!

Em Scott:

Love the plans for people first written out in the blog, if you need any help at all at any point would love to help.

Marilyn Slavin:

We are an organisation for people with learning difficulties. We believe that everyone should have a voice and we enable people to learn about their rights. We offer peer education which gives people with learning difficulties opportunities to learn how to teach other people with learning difficulties about range of issues that they have highlighted as important. We also have peer education that enables people to share their skills and interests with their peers. Our CKFriends social network is used by People First members in Scotland to communicate with each other and maintain friendships. We want to offer the same to People First members all over the UK.

Virginia Moffatt:

Hi there everyone. I’ve worked with people with learning disabilities on and off since 1984, as a support worker, advocate, information worker, contract manager, commissioner. Self advocacy to me is giving people with learning disabilities the right support so they can speak out, and the space to speak. It is vital movement for people with learning disabilities as it challenges people like me to make sure services are as they should be. It is even more important today because of austerity and the ongoing cuts in social care and welfare. I believe People First England will be a powerful voice in telling politicians the terrible effects of their policies on people with learning disabiliities. Really pleased to see you up and running. In all my contract and commissioning jobs, I have made sure there is space for self advocacy, I’m a big fan! So well done and good luck!

Beth Gerg:

I am the chair of Healthwatch Luton, as well as a disability campaigner. I would say I’m an advocate/supporter, and passionate aboute creating the space and process that enables people to be listened to worked with and above all recognised for their knowledge and expertise. Putting my money where my mouth is as such, I aim to make sure in luton we have champions who peer review services aimed at them, aswell as other services making them responsive. so there you go. anyone in Luton give me a shout.

Angela Swan-Clancy:

Thanks for opening your conversation to me! I see self advocacy as the voice of people…to support and promote their views that are unique and individual to them, a voice that supports self determination, choice and empowerment. I do not think self advocacy is the use of people’s voices to advance another persons agenda. Self advocacy, to me, is non judgemental and supportive of alliances!

Eric E-Rock Ward:

I have Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy. I feel that Self Advocacy is an individual that doesn’t let people take advantage of others as we have rights and have a right to live our lives like a non disabled individual. Non self advocacy is an individual that allows others to take advantage of them. I was a Vice President in a People First Chapter in California. Disability Rights is a very important thing that people with disabilities need to achieve their lifestyle goals.

Marian Bibawy:

Self Advocacy allows people with disabilities to speak-up for themselves.

James Wildy:

Hello, I have Aspergers Syndrome and comorbidities are dyspraxia, attention deficit hyperactive disorder and dyscalculia. I do talks to the police and to the different care homes and the NHS and the police. The problem is many of us on the autistic spectrum needs an advocate as self advocacy is not easy as we are often in fear of people.

Jan Sunman:

Thanks for the welcome, Gary. I know a few people who are with People First around the UK. It’s needed more than ever at the moment with the cuts to services.

Lee Dempsey:

For me, self advocacy is a way of life. I would never have gotten my diagnosis had I not argued and fought for it myself.

Gary B. Rubin:

Self-advocacy is where people with disabilities step up to the plate and speak up and don’t let others bully that person around and for that person to stand on his own two feet.

Leah Dolmage:

Thanks Gary. I am a proud friend of People First and grew up immersed in the disability rights movement. I am currently a community worker fighting for a paradigm shift in “developmental services” to undo the damaging legacy of institutions and institutional thinking. I work for the de-segregation of our communities and I am supporting people to speak up and collaborate together on issues that matter to them – bullying, health care, employment, accessing community, inclusive education, focusing on strengths and much more.

Justine Devereux-Old:

Thanks Gary, I have attended a seminar you were part of for Wiltshire council a few years ago and you were very inspiring. I work with adults with learning disabilities and always advise and signpost to advocacy groups where there is a need. Self Advocacy is so important in empowering those who may not had had the opportunity in the last, to direct their lives in a way which is meaningful for them and enables choice and control. I look forward to hearing more about your work and advice

Joe Powell:

Enormous congratulations re People First England Gary, an amazing achievement and it’s to your credit that you’ve fought so hard to achieve this. All Wales People First members would love to hear about this, would you be happy to write an article for out newsletter about the journey and the details of establishing it?

All Wales People First:

Amazing news that People First England is now established. This will make establishing People First UK a much easier process and can only be positive news for everyone connected to People First. I offer my congratulations to Gary Bourlet and everyone involved.

The Q-Kit ‏@The_Q_Kit:

Great stuff let us know if we can help in anyway

Simple Stuff Works ‏@SimpleStuffWrks:

Great News! We need an easily accessible platform to share good practice, news and events for #selfadvocacy groups.

Carl spaul ‏@carl_spaul:

Ensuring words like enablement, empower and personalisation don’t become empty buzzwords #PeopleFirstEngland

HSAUK ‏@HSAUK:

Proud to have contributed to you being able to make this happen – how are you planning to develop vision?

Dave Hughes ‏@EasyReadDave:

Good luck. Maybe try @AllWalesPF if you havent already. Scotland People 1st not on twitter but try http://www.peoplefirstscotland.org/contact-us

People First Cumbria ‏@Peoplefirst1:

Congratulations Gary!

martin routledge ‏@mroutled:

Interested 2 talk Gary – watch out for invites to you and @BendyGirl to a day to ‘make the future together’

Pesky People ‏@peskypeople:

Brilliant – one of my first voluntary jobs was as a people 1st advocate set up Hackney People 1st (1991)

Michelle maher ‏@mmaher:

That looks great, well done,

Jayne Knight:

Excellent news

Jimmy Marks:

We have had people first here in california for a while.Ii was part of another committee that was bigger and better funded than people first here, I hope people first uk is a smashing success Gary, and if you guys need some pointers I’ll be readily available.

Advocreate ‏@Advocreate:

This is a great step. We worked at Hijinx Theatre in 2005 with All Wales People First creatively training media skills!

Nina Hinton ‏@PureTransitions:

Thanks for sharing-looks very interesting n def needed.Be great to explore working together to get young adults voices heard.

Scott Durairaj ‏@ScottDuraira:

Great work Garry don’t forget the many people @NHSEngland aiming for the same thing great alliances @dominicslowie

Sam Clark ‏@smclrk:

Thanks Gary. A great start – if ok with you I’ll be in touch to talk about it & if I can help. Good luck!

1stEnable Ltd ‏@1stEnableInfo:

Fantastic Gary we will follow this with interest & encourage people to get involved. Great work!

Tracey McCillen ‏@traceymccillen:

Thank you – have read with interest. we too @UKSAPLD have identified the needs in your plan through our own work & new project

Ali Ameri ‏@ali_aameri:

Wishing you success

Valerie Houghton ‏@HoughtonVal:

@GaryBourlet has a long history within advocacy and person centred thinking though – we are always people first. 🙂

Sonya ‏@Sonya_LeanOnUs:

@GaryBourlet Thanks for sharing, Gary. Great start and let us know how things go.

Sarah bartlett ‏@RocknRollRNLD:

@GaryBourlet Thanks Gary. I will send you an email with my thoughts, ideas and advice. People first england – I am faithfully yours.

Rosemary Trustam:

Really worrying to find People First in Liverpool unable to carry on and other groups like Bath and NE Somerset also folded. We should track Local Authorities (LAs) cutting back on funding self advocacy when it’s the most important time to have a voice. Maybe use this page to say what’s happening to funding, share ideas to fund and also speak out strongly locally and nationally… also share where LAs are keeping the funding going? Lancashire has been funding local groups and is now helping them to join up across lancashire into a CIC led by people with learning disabilities – called SAIL – Self Advocacy In Lancashire.

Jenny Carter:

Self Advocacy groups can get over reliant on council funding Together All Are Able get money from work done sometimes we have to pay for things ourselves.

Fizzie Heseltine:

Hi Gary, thank you for this. Self advocacy is having the skills to speak up and be actively listened to by those who are making decisions about our lives.

Ewart Man Ufc Whyte:

Thank you Gary. I think its important for people to be heard on every level to hear there views.

Aaron Medel:

Thank You Gary Bourlet. My name is Aaron Medel and I live in Merced California. I have a hearing disability. I appreciate the opportunity to have a platform like this group to be able to voice my concerns about my disability related issues. A short time ago, I went to the California Department of Rehabilitation ( an organization serving people with disabilities) for assistance. Not long after that I noticed the Client Assistance Program ( an in-house advocacy program) was unresponsive in terms of advocating for my rights guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. My response has been to, ask for help from other advocacy organizations to back me up and call for reform. US state departments of rehabilitation are not truly independent from the advocacy programs as required by law, constituting a conflict of interest, that has a chilling effect on the rights of people with disabilities.