‘One Year: Staying Strong, Getting Stronger’ – Speaker Information

Session 1: ‘One Year On: Our experiences and stories from the last year’

Katie Peacock – Gr8 Support Movement

Katie Peacock is direct supporter (PA and PA team leader) as well as Coordinator of Exclusively Inclusive. Exclusively Inclusive is a voluntary community organisation that has been organising inclusive social opportunities in and around the Skipton area of North Yorkshire for the last few years.

Facebook: @exclusivelyinclusivecraven
Twitter: @excinclusive

Inclusion East (Matt Howard, Jo Hough and Sara Kent) 

Inclusion East CIC is a community organisation covering the East of England. They campaign and consult with/about/for people with learning disabilities and high support needs and their families and advocate for them, making sure they are well informed and represented when decisions are being made about them. Matt, Jo and Sara all work as directors for Inclusion East. 

Twitter: @inclusioneastc1

Dorset People First  (Kerry Martin, Ellie Crawford and Chris Mellor)  

People First Dorset are user led charity, supporting people with learning disabilities to develop their self-advocacy skills. They provide friendship, fun, support groups, forums, easy read and quality checking services. Kelly is a member, Ellie is part of the management committee and Chris Mellor is a member of staff

Facebook: @Peoplefirstdor
Twitter: @Peoplefirstdor

Aisha Edwards  

Aisha Edwards is a Rep for Lewisham People’s Parliament and Usher at the Young Vic theatre. 

Lewisham speak up Twitter: @Lewspeakup 

Alex Ruck Keene  – 39 Essex Chambers 

Alex Ruck Keene is an experienced barrister, writer and educator. His practice is focused on mental capacity and mental health law. He also created the website www.mentalcapacitylawandpolicy.org.uk/, which provides resources and expert commentary on some of the most difficult mental capacity issues.

Twitter: @capacitylaw 

Claire Doherty – Chrysalis Cumbria 

Claire Doherty is the Chief Executive of Chrysalis Cumbria. Chrysalis Cumbria is an established provider of support to adults with learning disabilities based in Cumbria. Their aim is ‘to provide dynamic opportunities to enrich the lives of adults with learning disabilities in a friendly and supportive environment’.


Sarah Thomas – Shropshire Parent Carer Council 

Parent Carer and Participation Co-ordinator at Shropshire PACC , a support organisation for parents and carers of children with a disability. They empower them to be involved in the design and delivery of the services that they use. Sarah has a real interest in promoting family resilience and enabling those with learning disabilities to live self-directed lives.

Shropshire PACC Facebook: @ShropsPACC
Shropshire PACC Twitter: @ShropsPACC


Session 2: ‘Made Possible: stories of success by people with learning disabilities – in their own words’

Saba Salman

Saba Salman is editor and Author of the book ‘Made Possible: Stories of success by people with learning disabilities’. She is also a freelance social affairs journalist and writes for The Guardian Newspaper. 

Twitter: @Saba_Salman

Dan Pepper

Daniel Pepper is an English Paralympian swimmer and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. In 2010 he won two gold medals at the World Championships in Eindhoven. Daniel Features as one of the stories of success in Saba’s book Made Possible. 

Twitter: @DanPepperGB

Gary Bourlet

Gary has been a self-advocate for over 30 years and is Co-Founder of Learning Disability England. Before this he founded People First England. Gary has a vast amount of experience in working with the media and has appeared on Channel 4 and in the Guardian. He is a civil rights campaigner and brought the People First movement to England. He is a Membership and Engagement lead with extra focus as self advocate spokesperson.

Gary’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/gary.bourlet
LDE Facebook: @learningdisabilityengland
LDE Twitter: @LearningDisEng

ProActive Community Group

The ProActive Community is a charity led by people with lived experience of learning disability, autism or an acquired brain injury, experts by experience. The groups partner organisation is Active Prospects.

Facebook: @ActiveProspectsUK 
Twitter: @Active_Prospect


Session 3: ‘So what’s Changed…?’ 

Fiona Ritchie

Fiona has worked all my life for people with learning disabilities and or Autism. She is trained as a psychodynamic music therapist and has worked for the South Midlands Strategic Health Authority where she finished a master’s in public health. She then went into regulation working with the Healthcare Commission as their lead for learning disabilities. Associate Director in transformation came next in a mental health trust and then from there she went on to be managing director for a large Mental Health and Learning Disability service in England. She set up her own consultancy business and now works in a number of NHS establishments on complex/forensic discharges and as an associate for NDTI, National Development Team for Inclusion and Chair of BILD, British Institute of Learning Disabilities.

NDTI Twitter: @ndti.org.uk
BILD Twitter: @BILD_tweets

Local Area Coordination Network (Nick Sinclair)

Local Area Coordinators are based in around 100 places across England and Wales.  They help people in the community achieve their picture of a good life and get where they want to be through practical support from family, friends, local community and with formal services as a backup. The approach helps people achieve good lives, tackles exclusion and helps communities grow with the skills and gifts of everyone. The Local Area Coordination Network (LAC Network) was created in order to support the development of this approach in England and Wales. Nick who will be presenting is the Director of the LAC Network.

Nick Twitter: @LacnNick 
Communication Catalysts Twitter: @CommCats 
LAC Network Twitter: @LACNetworkUK 

Session 4: ‘Being seen, Being heard’ 

Open Story Tellers

OpenStoryTellers is a community arts charity supporting people with learning disabilities and autism. They help people to find their voice and use it through the telling of stories. They started out in 2004, when Speech Therapist Dr. Nicola Grove found that supporting people with learning disabilities to share stories helped build relationships and challenge exclusion. They became a charity in 2009. 

Facebook: @OpenStoryTellers
Twitter: @OpenStoryTeller


Session 5: ‘The Human Rights Act now and next – why it matters for us all’

The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)

The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) is an independent charity which raises awareness and understanding about the importance of human rights. They move human rights from the law books to everyday life, using real examples and a practical human rights based approach. Sanchita Hosali works as the charities Director.

Facebook: @BIHRHumanRights
Twitter: @BIHRhumanrights


Session 6: Staying Strong and getting stronger 

Scott Watkin

Scott Watkin is Head of Engagement at SeeAbility, which provides specialist support, accommodation and eye care help for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss. Scott has also been has been named as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK as part of The Power List 100.  Scott also serves as rep-body co-chair for Learning Disability England.

Twitter: @mrscottwatkin
SeeAbility Facebook: @RSB.SeeAbility
SeeAbility Twitter: @SeeAbility