Advocacy Western Isles provides one to one issue based Advocacy and non-instructed Advocacy for people with learning disabilities and also provides Group Advocacy for people with learning disabilities.

What is Advocacy for those with a Learning Disability?

The Speak Out Group (formerly known as the Stand Up for Yourself Self Advocacy Group) have met with Advocacy Western Isles since 2006. The Speak Out Group are a well-established advocacy group of adults with learning disabilities who get together at least once per month (Wednesday afternoons) to deal with issues in the community that concern people with learning disabilities and that are of interest to people with learning disabilities. Over the years they have dealt with a range of matters.

Loch Seaforth Ferry Consultation

The Stand Up For Yourself Self Advocacy Group has been involved with consultation about the new Loch Seaforth ferry. Andrew Duncan, Director of Vessels of Caledonia Maritime Assets Ltd and his Colleagues visited the Group and took away an extensive list of suggestions that may make trips on the ferry easier for people affected by disability. Members of the Group met again with Caladonia MacBrayne representatives and Mr Duncan in November and were heartened and delighted to feed back to the whole group that their list was referred to in detail at this second meeting, showing that some suggestions had been implemented and were still been worked on.

Blue Badge Criteria

The Blue Badge Scheme is designed to help disabled people to access parking to reach a destination either as a driver or a passenger. The group has contributed their views to a document compiled by AWI with the local ENABLE group in response to Transport Scotland’s request for further information on any potential extension to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge Scheme to include people as a result of a diagnosed mental disorder, have little or no awareness of danger from traffic.

Health Consultations regarding what would make accessing hospital services better for people with learning disabilities and consultation on health leaflets for x-rays and scans that are used for all including people with a learning disability.

SMILE Project

The Speak Out Group have a hugely successful training project called the SMILE Project. SMILE stands for See Me I want to Live Equally.

“When we do our SMILE work I don’t  feel like I have a learning disability, people don’t see our disability, they see you – it makes me feel the same as everyone else.”
Learning Disability Advocacy Service User
“I didn’t feel positive about my care before, but with you here I feel positive about it now.”
Learning Disability Advocacy Service User
“I felt great knowing that you were there beside me; really comfortable.  Maybe in the past when I have had to do an assessment, I felt quite tense, but it felt good to have you there.”
Learning Disability Advocacy Service User
“We didn’t know that we could use our SDS to purchase equipment during Covid-19, but with Advocacy’s support we were able to approach our local authority to request a more flexible spend.”
Learning Disability Advocacy Service User
“I really appreciate everything you have done for me.  Thank you for everything you have done to help.”
Learning Disability Advocacy Service User
Learning disability advocacy