Free Our People Now campaign

Campaign to end the institutionalisation of people with learning difficulties and Autism

Thousands of people with learning difficulties and Autism are locked up inappropriately in psychiatric hospitals.

Inclusion London are supporting Simone Aspis’ campaign ‘Free Our People Now’. Donations will help provide Advocates and campaign for the release of disabled patients who are fighting for their freedom. Please support the campaign and donate on the Just Giving page:

About the Campaign

My name is Simone Aspis and for my 50th birthday I have set up this campaign. I am a disabled person wanting to stop the institutionalisation of people with learning difficulties and Autism. I was inspired by a psychiatric inpatient with autism and learning difficulties who asked me to be her advocate. During regular hospital visits, I would be  approached by other patients asking for advocacy support. Many patients want independent advocates, with lived experience of disability injustice to speak out for them and secure their rights to freedom.

Thousands of people with learning difficulties and autism are locked up inappropriately in assessment and treatment units (ATUs) and psychiatric hospitals. Last year alone the Government spent £477m on incarcerating 2,500 people with learning difficulties and autism in ATUs. Instead this money could have been spent on providing high quality housing and community care services that give them the right to independent living.

Your donations will help us set up a network of disabled advocates to work with disabled inpatients who are fighting for their freedom to live in their local communities.


Campaign update – June 2020

Simone writes: “Free Our People Now campaign is picking up the reigns again during the covid-19 pandemic.  We are monitoring the implementation of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the impact that the Mental Health Act’s temporary changes will have upon psychiatric hospital inpatients.

For further information see National Survivor User Network’s Covid-19: the Coronavirus Bill web-link

Free Our People Now Campaign is busily working with disabled people’s organisations and supporting inpatients who are challenging unlawful practices arising from the Coronavirus Act 2020.

We are also aware of a whole range of blanket policies arising from covid-19 outbreak which places inpatients at higher risk of human rights violations within hospital settings.  The Care Quality Commission (CQC) stopping routine inspections and Hospitals banning family, friends and Independent Mental Health Advocates visits which provide very important independent safeguards are some of the blanket polices leaving thousands of inpatients open to psychiatric abuse.

Currently we are supporting inpatients challenging hospitals’ blanket policies involving cancellation of all section 17 community leave in order to control covid-19 infection.   Further, we are looking to work with inpatients that are ready for discharge but the Local Authorities are not doing anything to support them to live in the community.

An update on Free Our People Donations and Spending 

For my 50th Birthday celebrations I decided to raise money to support a network of peer advocates to support our disabled peers to make an escape from institutionalisation.

I am sure you will understand because of taking extended leave and now a covid-19 pandemic, no decision has been made on how to use your kind donations to support peer advocates going into institutions.   The donations are being held securely in the London Inclusion’s charity account.   As soon as a decision can be made I will provide an update in a Facebook posting and the just giving web.

Please note you can still make a donation here:

Many thanks once again – Keep well and safe during these very challenging times.”

Free Our People Now Campaign Update – EasyRead version (word)

Free Our People Now Campaign Update – EasyRead version (pdf)