Gary Bourlet

"We want people speaking for themselves about issues that concern them, rather than the professionals."

Gary has been in the Self-Advocacy movement since 1984 and was a founder of the People First Movement in the UK. He is a campaigner for people with learning difficulties, civil disability and human rights. He actively supports the rights of people with learning difficulties and promotes a change in perception of them as voters. 

Gary's work began when he started to challenge the power of carers in day centres, supported by John Hersov of Mencap.

He set up People First, London and Thames during a time when he was still on benefits but used his money to pay for envelopes, stamps and writing paper and hand-wrote over 400 letters. He has been determined to see other Self-Advocacy groups set up around the UK.

Gary has trained many people with learning difficulties helping to encourage leadership more choice and more responsibility.