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Our History

Speakeasy over the years

Get to know our history and origin story to understand how we started, what type of organisation we were in the beginning and how this shapes the organisation we are now

We are part of the history of Advocacy

The changes in Speakeasy mirror the changes in advocacy over the years. We started out as a local citizen advocacy project, which is the first model of advocacy that was developed. We received Valuing People funding from the Department of Health in the early 2000s which was introduced to improve the lives of people with a learning disability. We have provided statutory advocacy since the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act in 2007, and from 2014 as part of the Care Act. And we were part of the writing team for the original Advocacy Qualification launched in 2009.

The early years

We started out in the mid 1990s as part of Hampshire Autistic Society as HAS Advocacy Project. By the early 2000’s we were part of a group of small local advocacy projects in Hampshire, and hosted a research project in 2001 to map out advocacy provision in the county. When HAS wanted to stop providing advocacy, a small group of volunteers and self advocates formed Speakeasy Advocacy. They successfully bid for a Lottery grant in 2003 and recruited a small staff team to continue the self advocacy groups and support volunteers.


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