Devon People First

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This project supports people with learning difficulties to speak up for themselves through self and peer advocacy.

It is run as a semi-independent body within Involve, having its own management committee comprised of people that use the service, a nominated representative of which sits on Involves board.

In this current financial year Devon People First received funding from Healthwatch via our partnership with Devon Link-up, to deliver user engagement, and from the Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver Victim Care Support.

Our Speaking Up groups create a link between people and a range of engagement boards as well as providing an important opportunity for social interaction.

We provide an Individual Advocacy Service for victims of crime with a learning disability, funded through the Police and Crime Commissioner. This service provides a peer advocate to those who need it and follows an international model of working. Beneficiaries of the service report an increase in self esteem, sense of empowerment and their perceptions of safety as well as having the confidence to participate in social activities which is so often affected by being a victim of crime.

In addition, Devon People First attend a number of  strategic partnership meetings including the Commissioning Involvement Group (looking at current and new, Health & Social Care Contracts) to provide an ‘expert view’ on how to involve people with learning difficulties in the commissions cycle; the Learning Disability Partnership Board; the Day Services evaluation panel; the Joint Engagement Group; and the Living Well at Home focus group.

We have also raised the awareness at The Learning Disability Partnership Board of what people in our groups and victims of crime were saying about loneliness. The board has now set tackling loneliness as its next main topic of focus and aims to create a new friendship project.