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Autistic people in Basildon invited to share their views at Speak Out Essex meeting

12 January 2024

A VoiceAbility group for autistic people in Essex will meet in Basildon for the first time next week — offering a safe space for people to speak about the services they use and ideas on how to improve them.

Speak Out Essex is a voice for autistic people in the county, and is run in conjunction with Essex County Council and the Essex All-Age Autism Partnership Board.

Left: Speak Out Essex pictured at a previous event in Harlow. Right: Luke Tomassi, a previous attendee, pictured with the autism flag he designed.

The group has been holding focus groups across Essex on topics such as health, diagnosis and education — gathering We’ statements which reflect the views of autistic people.

The meeting at Basildon University Hospital from 10am to midday on Wednesday 24 January will be an opportunity for autistic people from the Basildon area to add to these, with their families and carers also encouraged to get involved.

Those who attend will also be joined by Speak Out leaders in Essex, who utilise their lived experience to engage with and support their peers to have their voices heard.

Speak Out Leader Kim said: I’m really enjoying being part of the focus groups, and I will do as many as I possibly can.” 

It’s really nice that I’m able to have a voice, say something and be listened to — and know that, although I cannot change everything, I can be part of a small change. This is really important to me.

Fellow Speak Out Leader Dave Hobbs, who took part in a focus group earlier this month where a representative from the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust attended, added: 

The meeting brought together members of the autistic community — people, partners and professionals in all senses. The purpose was to present and discuss the findings collected from previous sessions on health and share them with providers.

It was incredibly helpful to have the NHS well represented with people who can help to deliver change.”

Speak Out Leader Dave Hobbs at a previous Speak Out Essex focus group.

The Basildon meeting will run from 10am to midday on Wednesday 24 January and takes place in the Essex Cardio Thoracic Centre (CTC) Education and Training Room (Room 4). 

The following meeting is at Jaywick Community Resource Centre from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Monday 5 February.

For more information, or if you would like to attend any of the meetings remotely, please email