Sheffield voices is a group made up primarily of adults with a learning disability and autistic adults but we are also a welcoming and inclusive group.
Our staff and volunteers work with our members, not for them! We believe in co-production for everything we do, and not making decisions for people without them.
We employ people with disabilities on our team, including a staff member with a learning disability and an Autistic staff member. Our volunteers are almost all group members who wanted to be more involved.
We run sessions both face to face and online through zoom around self-advocacy, issues affecting the learning disability community, creative sessions, and social groups.
For more information click on the headings.
Weekly group meetings
These are the groups we run every week, please contact us to join. We welcome everyone, both new and returning members!
Self-advocacy 10.45-12pm Coffee mornings on Zoom.
Our self-advocacy meetings are where we come together to discuss issues that affect both people with learning disabilities and Autistic people in our community.
Pyjama Drama 2-4pm at Victoria Hall.
Pyjama drama is our drama group for adults with learning disabilities in the Sheffield area.
We started this group with funding from the arts council to put on plays and short videos. We focus our work on current issues affecting our community
Social Nights 7-8pm on Zoom.
Consists of having a catch up with everyone. And if anyone would like to lead a game or sing song, they are very welcome to. It’s all about having fun and enjoying each other’s company.
Self advocacy 10-12am coffee morning at Hillsborough Arena.
Inclusive LGBTQ+ café 3-4/5pm alternating between Spirit of Sheffield and Zoom.
Disability Sheffield and Sheffield voices have launched a social café for the LGBT+ community many of the members are Autistic and neurodiverse.
Magic pen 2-3pm on Zoom
The Magic Pen writing group is a collaboration between Disability Sheffield and Burton Street Foundation. It is a friendly online group for anyone with a learning disability who loves stories and having fun with words. Every week on Zoom, we talk about different topics, have fun together, share our news. We write poems and stories together, and there is always time to share your creative writing too.
Sunshine art group 2-4pm at at the Sharrow old Primary School.
We started this group with the 'This is us' art therapy Project with Mind in May 2022. We love to create and make art and to express ourselves.
If you'd like to take part, please contact us using the form below. Due to the smaller size of the space there may be a short waiting list.
If you are interested in knowing more about us or getting involved please:
Phone: Disability Sheffield 0114 2536750
or use the Contact Form on the bottom of the page.
History of Sheffield Voices
Sheffield Voices started in 1997 and at that time was called SUFA.
The first steering group met at Voluntary Action Sheffield with the idea of starting a self-advocacy group for people with a learning disability and independent of Social Services and Sheffield Health.
We went round to various groups to see what people wanted, then got funding for a support worker. After that we joined with Sheffield Citizen Advocacy (SCA).
1999 Our Vision, Our Future – came to Sheffield about being a self-advocacy group.
Our contract ran until 2010 with Sheffield Council, when we decided not to go through the tendering process
In 2010 we formed Sheffield voices, our own self advocacy group under the umbrella of Disability Sheffield.
During the pandemic our numbers have grown massively and we are a thriving community that meets several times a week for both advocacy work and social groups.
What is self-advocacy?
Self- advocacy is about standing up for yourself, your rights, and your communities rights.
It's being able to support and speak up for yourself and others in a friendly way. This can be in a professional setting, like your job, or speaking to people about your healthcare, home life, and the relationships you have.
It's also having your say and getting your voice heard.
It's knowing you have choice to do what you want, and have control of your life.
It's listening to others, and being listened to.
It's coming together and fighting for change.
Things we do
- Challenge welfare changes
- Online campaigns around lockdown and the mistreatment of adults with learning disabilities and Autism in secure units
- Lobby PMs and governing bodies
- Co-produce and develop training around different topics (hate crime, autism insight training, training about learning disabilities) ran by our members and experts by experience.
- Social events both on and offline
- Art and Drama groups that make creative works around advocacy and our life experiences
- Art and crafts, quizzes, movie nights, bingo and more!
We host talks and discussions on….
- Learning disability pride week
- Crime and Punishment
- Jobs and Voluntary Work
- Choosing where and how to live
- Healthy Eating and Health Care
- Housing Plans
- Bullying and Hate Crime
- Family and Relationships
- Being Safe Out and About
- First Aid
- Accessible public spaces
Projects we've worked on recently
We have been used our SPEAK UP grant from health watch to talk about how we experienced the pandemic as a group and individuals
We have been part of the #Right2Home campaign and we have made a video. You can view our video here
We have been working with Speak Up on the 'Priortise Me' campaign. This is a campaign to help people with a learning disability and carers understand more about how to save money with household bills. We have been doing some quizzes and work in our online meetings about this.
We have made our hate crime training accessible online and have delivered that and our Autism insight training for different groups and organizations.
We have made a video about the scandal in firshill rise in Sheffield.
We have been working with the council and Healthwatch on our Chance to choose project, delivering art and drama workshops to find out how people want to live their lives.
We have set up two community sharing hubs called 'We speak, you listen' to bring together people and services in Sheffield each month to talk about issues affecting the learning disability community.
Aims for Our Group
At Sheffield voices we want to;
- Connect with people who have a learning disability
- Learn New Skills, open our eyes to new things
- Produce Easy Read material
- Support each other to solve our problems
- Challenge stigma and discrimination
- Learn about human rights
- Speak up about what is not working for us
- Promote Advocacy
- Work with other advocacy and partner groups across the country
- Run campaigns on different issues
- Research things that affect us to create change
- Share Ideas
- Plan social events, make friends.
- Have fun!
Our Hopes for the Future:
To connect with more people with a learning disability and Autistic people.
To work with other organizations to make sure our voices are heard.
To keep our current advocacy and creative groups going.
To use our skills to help others and inspire change.
Develop our 'We speak, you listen' events so our local community can connect with each other more and see what else is out there for them.
To strengthen our links with self advocacy groups across the UK, and even the world!
To keep applying for funding to grow our project and support and employ more members of our community.
To make a difference in people's lives.
You can view our Disability Hate Crime video below
Our Staff & Volunteers
Those are the amazing Staff & Volunteers work at Sheffield voices
I am a manager at Sheffield Voices which sounds like a big title but really I work alongside the amazing people who volunteer and come to our groups, our crew!
Peer Self Advocate
I have worked with Disability Sheffield for over 2 years, and I really enjoy it. And I’ve made lots of new friends, within my role I attend meetings on how we can better Disability Sheffield, create fun events and think of new ideas.
Hi I'm Kelly, I've worked for Sheffield voices for just over 3 years in various projects and I love being able to help people with advice, listening, and a lot of fun and laughter!
I have been with sheffield voices for over 6 years now I like to empower people with learning disabilities and help them with their issues whether it be social or political. Also I am a technician and produce videos.
I retired last year after spending many years working with people with learning disabilities and/or autism. I then started volunteering with Sheffield Voices.
Since joining last year I have become a volunteer which I love supporting others to get their voices heard. Also passionate for stopping the over medication for people with learning difficulties.