Five B.C. self advocacy groups receive grants to support social connection during pandemic

Community Living BC (CLBC) is supporting five B.C. self advocacy groups to keep individuals served by CLBC connected and supported through the next months of the pandemic.

The five groups that are receiving CLBC grants to organize activities in their communities are: Self Advocates of the Rockies (Cranbrook), the BC Self Advocate Leadership Network (Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island), Olivia Douglas Community Society (New Westminster), Speaking Up for Self Advocacy Awareness (Kamloops) and TALK North West (Kitimat/Terrace).

The self advocacy movement is a rights movement led by people labelled with developmental disabilities who speak up for themselves and for others on issues that affect them directly. Self advocates have demonstrated significant leadership through the pandemic and are well positioned to continue to respond to the needs of individuals across the province.

“Congratulations to the self advocacy groups who have been awarded these important grants,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “I know they will work very hard to help people stay connected and feel supported through these challenging times.”

From January to August 2021, these five groups will use grant funding to hire and pay self advocates to organize and facilitate both virtual and non-virtual ways for people in the same communities and across the province to connect. Groups are designing phone trees, activity mailouts, talent shows, conferences, online hangouts, laughter yoga, game nights and special interest activities including gaming, drama, digital literacy, rights, LGBTQ+ peer to peer connection, meditation, chess, and more.

“CLBC believes in the leadership and expertise of those we serve,” says Ross Chilton, CEO, Community Living BC. “These self advocate led groups will provide new opportunities to support each other in the challenging months ahead. I encourage our partners, families, and service providers to help to those we serve to get involved and connect to the events and activities these leaders will be organizing.”

The Self Advocates Leading Connection project is part of the work CLBC has undertaken with community living partners to find ways to support the resiliency of individuals and families during the pandemic. This project invests in the leadership of people with lived experience who will offer a valued role in addressing stress and isolation during COVID.

CLBC is grateful to Inclusion BC for supporting this project and for their invaluable help evaluating the many impressive applications submitted by the self advocate led groups.

“Inclusion BC is excited about the projects chosen that will keep people connected during COVID-19,” said Kya Bezanson, Inclusion BC Board Member. “The quality of proposals we received really reflects the strong self advocacy movement here in B.C. It is so important that solutions are developed by the people impacted.”

Please join CLBC in supporting and promoting these connection opportunities and events when they become posted. Information will be shared in the CLBC Individual and Family Update, and events posted on the new Calendar for Connection hosted on the Family Support Institute website. You can also visit the Self Advocate Net website here for updates on this work.

For more information about how to get involved with these groups and their projects, contact CLBC Strategic Initiative Advisor, or CLBC Self Advocate Advisor

For general questions about this initiative or CLBC’s COVID response, please contact CLBC’s Executive Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations,

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