We are Know Your Rights, a voice and speak up group within WECIL. We are a welcoming community of adults with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism working together to break down barriers and support independent living. Discover more about who we are, how we started, what we do and come along to our open meeting on the 13th January at the SS Great Britain to meet us!
How and why we started
People with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism are underrepresented in many areas of society and there aren’t many opportunities to speak up. There have been lots of cuts to services that affect us, and groups like Know Your Rights help to give our community a voice in wider society about things like housing, transport and education. Cognitive impairments as well as physical are just as important when considering access, and Know Your Rights helps ensure everyone is included.
Know Your Rights was started in Spring 2019 and funded by the South Gloucestershire Learning Disability Partnership Board (LDPB) who work with local organisations and groups to increase opportunities for people with Learning difficulties. We were set up with the mission to work together as a community to break down structural and social barriers faced by people with Learning disabilities and Autism. Now we don’t just work with people in South Gloucestershire, but in Bristol too so that we can make a difference across the whole of the South West. Our vision is for a future where every person with a Learning disability and/or Autism can fulfil their potential.
What we do
Know Your Rights is open to any adult 17 and above with a Learning disability and/or Autism in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset. We meet once a month in Fishponds in Bristol to discuss what matters to us, our experience and some of the barriers we face, including getting a job, education, finding somewhere to live and transport. We discuss ways we can break down these barriers, and pass on this information to decision makers to influence change at a local level. Our discussions can make a real impact on the lives of others, with one of our members even going to parliament to speak and becoming a WECIL trustee.
Being part of Know Your Rights is a brilliant opportunity to connect with others and between these monthly meetings we have lots of other communication with each other through group chats. We also take part in lots of training which we share with the wider community to upskill them on important issues, including self advocacy, social action, social media, money skills and creating easy read documents. We deliver consultation for other groups both inside and outside WECIL, and many organisations ask for our input and involvement. For example, we are helping We The Curious establish a club they run for adults with Learning disabilities.
COVID-19 meant that we had to have our meetings online, and we ran them weekly instead to help with the feelings of isolation that many were feeling. Now they are back to being face to face every month, and we always welcome and look out for each other and new members. All our meetings and training locations are fully accessible and you can speak to us if you have any concerns.
Being part of Know Your Rights is a brilliant way to have your voice heard but also socialise, inspire and support one another. We help you learn more about your rights, what is available to you and empower you to influence change in the region. From hearing about other people’s background and experience, to training, socials and more, join us to speak up for yourself and others. In the future our goals are to get politicians, local councillors, social workers and other organisations to come in and listen to us.
Our Open Meeting on the 13th January onboard the SS Great Britain is a perfect introduction to Know Your Rights. Join us for a tour of the ship, to have fun and socialise with each other, meet new friends and find out more about our projects. There is no pressure to join the group after, everyone is welcome. For more details about the event and to reserve your free space please visit our event page. Come and use our lived experience and knowledge to campaign for change whilst joining a fun filled and inclusive community!