Jackie Downer MBE


Jackie has been working on behalf of other adults with learning disabilities since the 1990s, when she decided she wanted to do more than attend the day centre. 

Jackie went to college and was helped to become a self-advocate by her support worker Linnett and Lambeth Accord (now 336, the disability hub for Lambeth). For seven years Jackie worked for Lambeth Accord as a project worker, supporting people with learning disabilities throughout the borough. She then worked at a People First group, helping people with little verbal communication. 

With support Jackie has written a number of picture books to help people with learning difficulties, or limited speech, to advocate for themselves. The books, co-written with Sheila Hollins, are part of the Beyond Words series. One of Jackie’s books, Speaking Up For Myself addresses the ‘double whammy’ of discrimination experienced by people with learning disabilities who are also ethnic minorities. 

Jackie has advised numerous organisations on disability issues as a consultant, and is a known expert in her field. With her carer taking dictation, Jackie creates training materials and meeting agendas, and gives talks. 

Jackie worked with the Quality Company, which makes sure people have the support they need and want to live the lives they choose.

In 2002, Jackie was awarded an MBE for services to people with learning disabilities in London. She continues to advocate for disabled people, including being a vocal critic of the cuts to independent living budgets.