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  • Writer's picturestevose31

Positive Voices - what a conference!

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

By Lloyd Page, Peter Cronin and Steve Hardy

We were so excited to be going to Birmingham on the 14th September. We arrived at London Euston and with the power of Twitter we met up with the cool dudes of Lewisham Speaking Up! We arrived at Birmingham New Street and then went out for a lovely meal at Nando's - beautiful food! There was 18 of us!

We were all up bright and early for the conference. The taxis were late picking us up but they couldn't start without Aisha and us because we were starting the event.

Aisha gave a brilliant and clear introduction to the day. Then it was us - Peter and Friends. We explained the reasons why we started this project - to give people a platform to be heard! Peter started the talk and Lloyd wrapped it. We asked the audience what they would like book three to cover - everyone shouted #SelfAdvocacyWorks !

Next up the absolute star of the conference - Stephen ⭐️ This young man is twelve years old, a lovely human being who had autism and dyspraxia. We heard about the challenges he faces and this was the first time he had spoken to such a big crowd.

Now was the story of self advocacy from the early 1980's. It was amazing what we have achieved, changing attitudes and being heard. The 'Brighton & Hove Speak Out' group made a fantastic video of all the work done by the main characters and groups. It was amazing! Gary Bourlet finished off this presentation talking about the first international conference in the USA in the early 80's.

After the lovely lunch was the brilliant 'My Life, My Choice'. They were gathering the sad stories that people had experienced of ATUs. They are starting a project with the aim of being no one should ever be admitted to an ATU. Then we had a beautiful and energetic performance by the extremely talented 'DanceSyndrome'.

Then we did some group work about what are the aims and challenges of #SelfAdvocacyWorks ! So much packed into one day! Great presentation, a passionate audience, fantastic organisation by 'Dudley Voice for Choice' and then came the party!

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