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Project information

Volunteer and Peer Advocacy

The project will address the inequalities that people with learning disabilities face by empowering, supporting and training them in self advocacy and equipping volunteers to effectively support the peers to have their voices heard and influence on a local, regional or national level.

We aim to run this project annually

Charity information: Solihull Action through Advocacy

Solihull Action through Advocacy logo
  • Need


    The project addresses the extreme inequities that people with learning disabilities face. People with learning disabilities have a shorter life expectancy and increased risk of early death and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders is 36% among children with learning disabilities, compared to 8% among children without learning disabilities. This project is about enabling people with learning disabilities to make interventions with decision makers and communities to address societal imbalances.


    Our Peers will be supported by volunteers to identify local issues that affect and matter to people with learning disabilities and work to address them. Our peers are experienced with identifying and tackling disability discrimination and working with groups and organisations to share experiences around living with learning disability, equal rights and what can be done to improve quality of life. The project will get the voices of disenfranchised people across solihull heard by the right people.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To make long term and lasting change by expanding our volunteering and the people we can support


    » Recruit volunteers and peers to support and address health inequalities in Solihull through participatory approaches
    » Recruit and support peer champions to raise awareness around health issues in Solihull. Peer champions are people with learning disabilities.

    What success will look like

    Working with three local health care providers to provide easy-read medical information and health promotion.
    We will have recruited a pool of self-advocacy specific volunteers.

    Aim 2

    To support the development of a peer-led self advocacy group addressing inequality & discrimination


    » Increase the frequency of current group meetings to enable greater change and the development of stronger group skills
    » To support the development of self-advocacy forums that will widen the reach of the self advocacy group and connect with more people

    What success will look like

    The self-advocacy group will have established a replicable advocacy forum and the feedback from this group will have directly affected the work of the main group.

  • Impact


    We hope to see an uptake in people with learning disabilities accessing health related services in Solihull. We will develop a scheme in which healthcare providers can sign up to as a commitment to provide inclusive information. We will create an environment that reinforces participation in local council policy making and highlights inclusive participation. We will demonstrate this through an uptake in the Self-advocacy groups being utilised as a tool for research and user engagement Solihull.


    The risks for this project surround volunteer capacity, recruiting the right people and the cohort we get for the self advocacy project. The priority for the project is to empower people with learning disabilities to identify and address issues that matter to them, and we may discover that the cohort have different priorities. We will address this through a flexible project planning approach and have selected a skilled advocacy manager to guide the project.


    Our donors will be kept informed of the self-advocacy group's work through regular newsletters and invitations to AGMs or socials/fundraising activities where they will get to meet those involved in the project and talk with participants, providing an opportunity for important verbal feedback.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £8,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,280 Peer-Led Self Advocacy Group Paying 10 peers £9.50 per hour for 12 two hour sessions
      £1,140 Self Advocacy Forum Paying 5 peers £9.50 per hour for twelve two hour sessions
      £1,840 Expenses & Continency Travel costs for peers and volunteers and £340 unallocated contingency funds
      £720 Meeting Catering £30 budget per meeting for light refreshments for 24 meetings
      £1,440 Room Hire £60 per two hour meeting room hire budget
      £1,080 Staff Costs 1 member of staff at £15ph or 2 at £7.50 covering each meeting + 1hr per day preparation time
  • Background


    Solihull in general is a very affluent area regionally and nationally, and has a very low proportion of in the bottom 5% most deprived areas. This means that addressing deprivation can be a difficult task as it isn't always a priority within the area. Average earnings are higher than the national average, pushing up the cost of living. Typically people with learning disabilities are disengaged from the employment market and therefore face further barriers to accessing health and community.


    People with learning disabilities in the area of Solihull, particularly those who are living in residential care and do not have the same independence and freedoms or opportunities to advocate for themselves as a non-disabled person would.
    We work with adults with learning disabilities & are working to widen our reach
    The project provides opportunities to socialise and engage with the community, addressing Articles 8, 26 and 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights with Peoples with Disabilities

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have a core group of experienced peers who are skilled at addressed discrimination and inequalities. In the last quarter alone, we have worked with Macmillan to create easy read cancer screening booklets, with Disabled Go to carry out accessibility checks on bathrooms and changing places toilets, we have participated with the Learning Disabilities Observatory's health and care project workshop , work within breast screening, supported in the development of the safe places scheme and more.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Kathy will be the advocacy manager leading the work on this project.


    Jennifer will be supporting Kathy to delivery project as an advocacy assistant.