History of Speaking Up For Action, Sheffield: How it all started
Tina Wilkinson

Early 1998
The first steering group met at Voluntary Action Sheffield. The members of this group included: David G, Michael C, Jasmine W, Shelagh G, Diana C, Brian W, Peter, Tony R, Eleanor S and Ruth M (the link person).
The idea was to start a self-advocacy group in Sheffield for people with learning disabilities. This group would be independent of Social Services and Sheffield Health.
It was decided that Speaking Up for Action would be the name. We made visits to Crown Hill, Reclaim, In the Boat, P.T.I., Sooper Troopers and Tip Top club amongst others to find out what people wanted and what ideas they had.
We attended JCC Forum, Partners in Policy Making, Funding Forums, Objective 1 meetings and others.
Funding application to joint finance sent, we got the money later in the year! The worker would be based at Sheffield Citizen Advocacy.
A Launch Party at Gateway. Lots of people were invited.
A big meeting about dreams and what people want from a self-advocacy group.

Our Vision Our Future talked to a big meeting about being a self-advocacy group.
More and more people started to come to meetings.
Early 1999 Sue S and Jasmine W from Reclaim set up some training about how to get a new worker.
First training session held at Burton Street on how to decide what the worker should be like. Advert was placed in the Sheffield Star on the 4th May. About 20 completed applications forms came back to us.
Second training session held at Burton Street on how to choose the shortlist (6 from 20). The group then spent two days working in pairs to choose the six best people to interview.
Third training session held at Burton Street on how to do an interview. The group decided what questions they would ask the people being interviewed. The group also decided to do a group exercise that people with learning disabilities would run to see how people listened and talked.
Interviews were held at Aizlewood's Mill. It was very hard work choosing. Dawn was offered the job because she was the best person for the job.
Dawn started as the Development Worker for Speaking Up for Action.

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