Last week, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, met with the ‘Speak Out’ group, run by Advocacy Western Isles.

Members of the group invited the islands’ MSP to attend one of their fortnightly meetings to discuss the progress of the Scottish Government’s National Islands Plan, and to answer some questions from the group.

The Speak Out Group (formerly known as the Stand Up for Yourself Self Advocacy Group) have been with Advocacy Western Isles since 2006, and are a well-established advocacy group of adults with learning disabilities who meet regularly to deal with issues in the community which are of concern or interest to the group. The group, as part of Advocacy, raise issues locally and nationally.

Commenting after the meeting, Allan said:

“I was very pleased to accept an invitation from the Speak Out Group to attend their most recent meeting. It was an excellent opportunity to discuss the latest updates on the National Islands Plan, covering the progress made so far and what more remains to be achieved through the plan. I hope to attend another of the group’s meetings again soon, and I would like to commend the group members for their continued efforts to ensure the voices of those with learning disabilities are elevated and included in key public consultation and engagement processes.”

Lynda Blair, Speak Out Group Facilitator, said:

“The group were delighted to have Alasdair along and raise important issues which are pertinent for individuals with learning disabilities”.

Group member Christopher Kerry said that “the community is for people to feel safe in and not feel isolated”.

During the meeting, the Speak Out Group raised issues such as feeling safe in the community, maximising chances for supported employment, the provision of easy read documents for assessments and care plans, and services being reinstated to people whose services were withdrawn during Covid and having to be re assessed prior to being able to return to their day-to-day activities. The Western Isles MSP will be taking these issues forward on the group’s behalf.


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