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issue 30

Winter 2016

Having a Voice in Bromley

see pages 10 and 11 for more

Advocacy for All is an independent advocacy organisation and an equal opportunities employer. Charity no: 1064855.

contents page project



Speak Up Sutton


Bexley Speaking Up Group


Bromley Speaking Up Group


Young Advisers


Speaking Up In School


Having a Voice in Bromley


A Team


Peer Support Groups in Kent


healthy lifestyles


our members news


Bromley Sparks

Speak Up Sutton We had a training session with Sutton police about keeping safe. We learned that you need to be alert and keep your bags, money and phones safe. Here are our top tips:

 keep your bag close to you. Keep it

zipped up and don’t let it out of your sight.

 If you use a wheelchair, don’t hang your 

bag on the back. Keep it where you can see it. do not carry a lot of money, just take what you need.

 it is safer to use the cash machine inside the bank. Put your money away before you go out.

 do not put your phone in your back 

pocket; it is easy to steal do not leave your phone on the table when you are in a café or pub. Keep it hidden.

written by Speak Up Sutton


big health check day We went to the Big Health Check day at the Angelus Centre in Erith so people could say what they thought about health.

Jan and Belinda

“I was very nervous but I had fun doing it. Everyone said I spoke clearly. It was fun meeting other people with a learning disability. I would do it again.� written by Belinda

disability hate crime work We are working with Claire Penney from Bexleyheath police station to make a useful booklet for Bexley people with disabilities to understand what a disability hate crime is and where to go Claire Penney to for help. We will also be doing sessions in schools to talk to children about disability hate crime so they understand what it is like to have a disability. written by Ian and Tanya

sponsored swim We did a sponsored swim on the 19th November to raise money for our speaking up group going. The swim went very well, Stephen did 15 lengths and Teresa our volunteer did 48 hurrah! written by Stephen


At our last meeting of the year, the Bromley Speaking Up Group spoke about speaking up and what it means for them.



When I first started, I was really really quiet, and where I was living people were telling me what to do. But now I speak up for myself and people ask me what I think. I was a bit bored because there was no college courses and I was stuck at home. With the Bromley Speaking Up Group I get the fact that I can join in and socialise with people. Before the group I didn't get to speak up that much. Speaking up for yourself can help us help other people to be kind towards others.


I was definitely shy...didn't know what to say. Now I am not shy anymore and get to know everybody.

Karen and David

I’ve been here a long time. I have learnt to speak up for myself. I get to do what I want to do and help anybody who wants to speak up. 5

Young Advisers Bromley Sarah goes to Birmingham! On the 25 November I set off on my adventure to Birmingham. I went to a studio where I was helping to run a few workshops about a project that the Young Advisers Bromley have been working on for over a year. This is called the Social Care Innovation Fund. It looks at how social workers talk to young people in the UK. We talked about the project and what Bromley are doing to change things. We showed videos and used a role play activity to get the professionals to remember how they felt when they were young. This was to help them to think of their own experiences when they speak to a young person. I had a great day travelling and working with Michael and the Council for disabled children. I would like to thank them for inviting me and letting the Young Advisers Bromley be a part of this great project. written by Sarah


Young Advisers Havering This is the Havering Local Offer website. We are talking to lots of young people to make it better. There are symbols now so it is easier to understand. We visited schools and youth clubs to find out what people thought about the website and to get new members. “Now I’ve joined the group to help more of the community.” Amy Asli from Havering Council came to visit

It made us feel good that someone came to listen. James

Jack and George did a presentation about our Short Breaks research to lots of adults who could make things better.

I feel proud of myself. Jack


They are talking about children, but where are the actual children? We were the only ones there. 7

Drumbeat Brockley making decisions

We have been talking about the importance of decision making in everyday situations, like ordering a takeaway. We started our sessions by creating our own pizzas and choosing our toppings. We did a role play about going to the fried chicken shop. We also did a role play to choose what pizzas we would like to buy. written by Michael


Marjorie McClure School The Dark Horses We started our new peer group this term. We have named our group The Dark Horses. We decided what we want our group to be and made our rules. We want our group to be fun, exciting and mysterious. We also designed our own logo. At the end of the term we will have created a film or an art piece about us. written by Sarah

Glebe School cyber bullying This term we have been talking about Mate Crime. Cyber Bullying has become an easy way to threaten or hurt someone’s feelings through social media. Schools need to do more to stop this from happening and find those who are doing it! We are doing role play to find ways to help ourselves and stop this happening. written by James

Watch this clip of a caller on This Morning sharing a story of her son’s bullying: 9

Having a Voice in Bromley We held an event at the Bromley Civic Centre. We told the council about what was good and bad about Bromley and what should be better.

First the A Team did a bingo game to help us understand about safeguarding. Then the Young Advisers Bromley talked about children’s rights with a true or false game. Bromley Mencap told us about the services they provide.


Then our speaking up group members told us their personal stories and we listened to podcasts. It ended with a play called ‘what a wonderful world’. You can listen to the podcasts on our website: A podcast is like a radio show. The word podcast uses the words broadcast and iPod. They can be downloaded from the internet and listened to on a computer, mobile phone or an Mp3 player. People chose which workshop they wanted to take part in. The workshops were a chance for people to talk about their experiences.


keeping safe


health 11

Advocacy for All bigger voices– better lives Keeping Safe With The A Team We have been going around different boroughs presenting what we do. For me one of the highlights has been talking into a mike. Lucy

We have been to Manor House in Bexley which was for younger people. Everyone got a lot out of it because it was a good space. It was easy for people to get their say so they weren’t left out. Their message was “Speak out”.


We went to speak to the Bexley Safeguarding board. We showed them how we learn about things like face expressions.

Sara from the NHS invited us to another important meeting to tell others about our work. Our next big plan is to get some money to keep going. We want to put it out there more. Sara will be part of our journey. written by Lucy


Peer Support Groups in Kent Feedback on the Kent autism strategy In the October peer support group members discussed the Kent autism strategy, which was going through consultation. A consultation is when you find out what someone thinks about something. A strategy is a plan to manage something or get something done.

People gave their opinions and suggestions which were sent to the Kent County Council. They will use our feedback for the final strategy. Some people went into small groups to look at parts of the strategy that they were interested in. A popular idea was a service to introduce people to their neighbours when they moved into a new area. This will help to raise awareness of Autism and reduce anxiety. 13

healthy lifestyles


In November we started our recipe book for losing weight. We made fruit salad, fruit kebabs and a smoothie. We made the smoothie by putting the fruit in the bowl and mashing it with a potato masher. Then we stirred it with a wooden spoon. We had some lumps in the smoothie because we put grapes in by mistake. It still tasted nice. All these recipes are good for losing weight. written by George

Martin 14


our members news Annie wins gold medals I did my gymnastics competition in Dorset in Poole. That is where I got my gold medals. It felt like I was being a professional. Annie

written by Annie

Susie writes 2 stories I write my own stories like  adventure  a little bit of crime  romance  general fiction


I have finished 2 stories but I have not typed them up to make them a book yet. It looks as though they will be ready after Christmas. Watch this space! written by Susie

Mathew publishes a book Matthew, a member of the Peer Support Groups in Kent, published a book of his poetry and art. A reader of his book said: “This slim book is a real gem. I look forward to more poetry as he explores his own world and I am able to join him. My only criticism is that the artwork should be bigger on the page.” 15

lads group In the lads group in December we talked about Christmas and did some games. We did a pairs game. We had pictures on our backs. We had to speak to the other lads to find out what their picture was so we could match them up.

Another game we did was shipwrecked. We pretended we were on a sinking boat at sea and had to choose what things we needed most to get rescued. We just managed to get rescued‌..just!


ladies group domestic violence We had cards with abuse words on it and we had to talk to the group about what the words meant to us. Linda took photos of each person There were 3 words left over. Tina explained the words from the computer. It is important to talk about domestic abuse. Some people are vulnerable and do not always know the different types of abuse and where to go to for help.

types of abuse physical

When someone hurts you for example punches or kicks you.


When someone touches you in a way that you don’t want or makes you do sexual things that you don’t want to do.


When someone takes your money or belongings without asking.


When people say bad things to hurt your feelings, shout or threaten you.


When bullying happens online through email, text, social media or online chat rooms.

written by Linda, Teresa and Susie


being a volunteer - a conversation with Laura Linda: What made you want to volunteer?


Laura: It all started before Rene left who used to support the group. They were looking for a volunteer. I help them when they are stuck especially when they are out in the community. Linda: You like to be active don’t you. Yes, I like keeping active and it is nice working with Jan. I like to help with refreshments and help the new members and show them the ropes. Linda: Do you enjoy it?

Charlie, Sarah and Laura

Paul and Annie

Yes! In those 8 years I have been volunteering I got a Jack Petchey leadership award. I am known as the “walking talking diary.” I work with Charlie the other volunteer which is good. I like working with vulnerable people. Last week was my favourite group when we wrote poems and I learnt from the members. Paul helps me because he is really good with the computer. Susie: What is the hardest part? Nothing is hard. I do the ring round. I don’t mind doing it because Jan helps. Linda: Do the members go to you for one to one advice? I help them if they find something hard to understand.


young adults Haiku poetry In our young adults group we wrote a special poem from Japan called Haiku poetry. Some of us found it difficult to write one. Some were written on the computer and some wrote on the speech bubbles. You can have a look at the Bromley Sparks office to see what we have done so far. Some of them went on our Facebook page.

This is the first time we have done this in the young adult group. You have to write Haiku poetry in 5 beats, 7 beats and 5 beats. We are going to show all our work at an art exhibition. written by Laura and Paul


Books Beyond Words

Baroness Hollins

We went to London to go to the Books Beyond Words launch. Baroness Hollins who started Books Beyond Words gave us a speech on how important pictures are for people who can not read words. One of the books was called Going to the Dentist. It told us to look after our teeth and go to the dentist more. The other book was called Rose Gets in Shape. It was about how to lose weight and keep fit. It said we should not eat fatty foods like chips and to do exercises to be healthy. written by Laura and Teresa

“I love going to these places and working with Books Beyond Words� Teresa


I was asked to look through the book about going to the dentist and tell the story in my own words. Rebecca recorded my voice and it was played at the launch for people to listen to while they looked at the book.

Buy Books Beyond Words here: 19

The members found out that Orpington Road Runners had chosen All Stars Fitness as their charity of the year and what this might mean to them as a group. They were really excited and there was lots of clapping and cheering. We asked them for their ideas on what we might do with the money raised and there were some ideas: Polly said we can buy a CD player so we could have music at the sessions. They love music! Saleem said we could have a day out, maybe somewhere like Port Lympne which is a wildlife park. We also thought we could go sailing at Chipstead Lakes or horse riding at Chelsfied Riding School. written by Tricia, volunteer group supporter

We got new t-shirts on 1 November. They are bright and it makes us feel like we are part of a team. We wear them every time we meet. written by Paul


trip to Houses of Parliament Bob Neill, the Member of Parliament for Bromley sent an invitation for 20 of us to visit the Houses of Parliament. We had a guide called Mick who was a cockney who lives in Bromley. He was a mine full of interesting information. We saw the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We went in the lobby and saw the statues of former Prime Ministers, the paintings on the walls, the robing room and the division lobbies where the MPs vote. We were not allowed to sit on the benches in the House of Lords or the House of Commons, but now we know what it is like when we see the debates on the television. written by George and Teresa


Bromley stakeholder conference In November we had a stakeholder meeting. It was about loneliness in Bromley. There are a lot of lonely people in Bromley so the council had a workshop. David, George and Sarah told their stories about loneliness. We told the council that there needs to be more places for people to meet. written by David

George’s story


Life was boring. I was lonely and bored and I wanted the money to help me feel better. Shopping gave me something to do. It gave me a chance to talk to people. Then the bills came in. I tried to forget about them. Then of course I got bailiff letters. My brother got in touch with social services and that was the beginning of my life changing. My friend told me that Bromley Sparks had done a lot for him. I have now been a member for 6 years. I’ve made lots of friends and been on holiday. My sister says my social life is better than hers! written by George

George’s top tip: be brave, join a group; see what the group gives you, you will find that you give a lot back to the group too.


from the Sparks news team!

We need new members to join our Sparks news team in 2017. We get together once a month to write the Sparks pages and choose photos. We would like a rep from all of the Sparks groups. We can teach you how it runs and you can bring fresh ideas. Please get in touch if you are interested.

find us on social media

/advocacy4all /advocacyforall @biggervoice /biggervoices Bromley Sparks

020 8300 9666 020 8315 2508

Easy Read Group

020 8315 2508

Sutton office Kent office

020 8669 0500

Advocacy for All


01233 668518

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