Speak Out Council


A voice for people in Cambridgeshire who have a learning disability or are on the autistic spectrum.

What does Speak Out Council do?

  • acts as a voice for people with a learning disability or who are on the autistic spectrum
  • runs consultations and drop ins to give people a say on all sorts of issues, and influence decisions
  • talks to professionals and organisations who can make a difference to these issues
  • runs Speak Out Council meetings to give service users and professionals an opportunity to talk

Who can get involved?

We are for anyone in Cambridgeshire who is aged 14 or above, and who has a learning disability, autism or both. You can get involved as much or as little as you like.

How do I get involved?

Get in touch

Get in touch to tell us about any issues you are experiencing in your life, at home or when using a service. Contact us on Facebook and Twitter, our email, or phone 0786 700 2124.

Join a virtual Drop In

Due to the current coronavirus situation, we will not be holding face to face drop ins, but you can still Speak Out.

On all our drop in times and dates, we will be live on Facebook and Twitter, checking our email, and available on at the end of the phone on 0786 700 2124. 

Our next drop-in is on Wednesday 27 May, 10.30-11.30am, when we will be focusing on High Support Needs.

We are all working, so just get in touch any time if you’d like us to help raise any issues you are experiencing in your life at the moment. By talking to professionals and organisations we can help make a difference.

Attend a Speak Out Day

Join the Speak Out Council leaders, other people with a learning disability or autism, their carers and family, professionals, referrers and providers to see what we have been doing and how you can get involved and have your say. 

Our next Speak Out Day will be online in June.

To join a meeting, email speakoutcouncil@voiceability.org or call us on 07867 002124 

Our partners

We work closely with the Learning Disability Partnership Board for Cambridgeshire, to make sure what is important to you is at the heart of their work.

We talk to people from the Cambridge County Council, the local Clinical Commissioning Group, sporting organisations, and service providers, including transport and highways.

Safe Places

The Safe Places scheme currently runs in Huntingdon, Ely, Whittlesey and Sawston, where local businesses and shops offer temporary refuge to vulnerable people in need. We plan to extend the scheme to other areas too. Our project is run in partnership with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, and involves businesses signing up to offer help, and then displaying special stickers in their windows to show they are part of the scheme and a safe place for anyone feeling threatened or anxious.

A person needing help shows their stay safe card to a member of staff who will help them call the emergency contact on the card – or the local police or safeguarding service. The card tells people exactly what to do to help the person. This includes their name, the contact details of the person they need to get in touch with, and what to do if you cannot get hold of them.

Apply for a safe place card
To get a card for yourself or someone you care for, or to offer your business as a Safe Place, please call us on 07867 002124 (mobile) or 01223 555809 (office) or email speakoutcouncil@voiceability.org

What should a good social care assessment look like?

He takes huge pride in his work. One of his favourite sayings is, We’ve done that job”.

James, Russell’s support worker
Russell’s Story

Russell likes to talk with people. It’s his favourite thing. He also likes meeting people, knowing what is happening next and having something to do. Working on VoiceAbility’s Speak Out Council (SOC) is perfect for him.

Russell is 35 and has profound and multiple learning disabilities. He also has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and is a big Saracens fan.

He has been working with VoiceAbility in a variety of roles for eight years now, and is extremely successful at challenging the assumptions of what people with high support needs are capable of and want to achieve.

As part of the SOC, Russell worked to improve a traffic crossing in Hitchin. He made a video and wrote a letter which he shared with a local councillor who visited him personally. The improvements Russell helped make benefitted both Russell and his community immensely.

Next Russell led a project to test local public houses for accessibility, both in terms of physical accessibility and the way in which they could provide an atmosphere where people with high support needs could feel comfortable.

He has led access walks, which has helped to highlight problems with footpaths across the county and has resulted in the County Council making several improvements to broken paving slabs and curbs.

He has even chaired a meeting of the Learning Disability Partnership Board.

James Sheard, who acted as Russell’s support worker for many years before coming to work for VoiceAbility, said: 

I have seen a marked difference in Russell in the years since he started working with VoiceAbility. He has improved concentration and comprehension of his job role. He has increased confidence and takes huge pride in his work. One of his favourite sayings is, We’ve done that job”. What helps him is the structure of the job and the fact that we plan things out months in advance.”