It's My Life! CoAction Advocacy Conference 

Our last CoAction Advocacy Conference was held on July 10th 2013 in the West lodge Hotel in Bantry Co. Cork.   The conference was a Self-Advocate led event, planned and organised by the Co Action Action Forum. The Action Forum is an elected representative group of people who use Co Action's services. 
The title of the conference was “It’s my life”. We wanted to speak about what’s important in our lives and share it with others. Several self-advocates from other organisations also presented on the day in various workshops. This contributed to the atmosphere of openness and people sharing their life experiences together at an event we organised and facilitated. ‘Nothing about us without us’ is our motto and that was very much the case at this event.

Workshops included;
  • Living in my own home “If I can do it, you can do it too.”
  • Money, money, money.
  • Intensive Interaction Dance Workshop.
  • Communication Technology “The way ahead.”
  • Advocacy “You’ve got to listen to me”
  • Supported Employment “Job well done”
  • Facilitating choice through communication.
  • Circles of support “I’ll do it my way”.

The aim of the workshops was to raise awareness about what’s important to us, to share information and ask staff, families and other self-advocates to get involved and support us in the choices we make in our lives. 
Joanne O'Riordan from Millstreet was the guest speaker on the day and what an inspiration she was. She spoke about making the most of life and focusing on ability only. Her upcoming documentary is entitled ‘No Limbs, No Limits’ and that is her motto in life.
Much has changed in peoples’ lives over the past two years since the first Advocacy conference hosted by Co Action. Bernadette who is one of the Action Forum representatives said ;
         “ I feel like a full person, I have gained confidence to speak out. Before I would have just taken what I was given.”
Alan , another forum representative said;
“We are the bosses of our own lives”
Carol Gilbert of the Southern Star reported that “this was one of the most positive and inspiring conferences I have ever attended” and we, the Action Forum plan to build on that.