- There are 1.5 million constituents in the UK who have a learning disability, the majority of whom have never voted.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil attended the launch of United Response’s 2015 accessible voting campaign, Every Vote Counts at the House of Commons on Tuesday 25th November 2014. During the event Mr MacNeil took the opportunity to hear directly from people with learning disabilities about why voting is important to them during a questions and answer session invigilated by broadcaster and United Response President Martyn Lewis CBE.
National disability charity United Response aims to increase political awareness amongst people with learning disabilities and those who support them in the run up to the General Election. During the 2010 election, 1 in 3 people supported by United Response voted following successful campaigning. In the coming 2015 General Election, the charity aims to see the number of people with a learning disability voting increase to be in line with the turnout of the general population. United Response has taken over 40 years’ experience of supporting people with disabilities and mental health needs and produced a brand new set of easy read resources and accompanying website (www.everyvotecounts.org.uk) that makes politics and voting easy to understand, as well as explaining how politics affects all our daily lives.
Research carried out by United Response indicates that nearly a third of respondents want access to easy to understand information about the candidates and their political parties. The new Every Vote Counts website has a dedicated section to assist politicians in making their information accessible.
Angus MacNeil MP said:
“In the coming General Election, every single vote really will count. I support this timely campaign and encourage as many people as possible to visit the Every Vote Counts website and use the resources available. I intend to play my part in ensuring that the information I provide is accessible to all.”
Shan Nicolas, United Response Interim Chief Executive, said
“We know that people with learning disabilities want to vote; by providing easy read materials MPs can ensure that they really do engage with this important, but too often neglected, group of constituents.”
United Response is a community based charity that works with people with learning disabilities, mental health needs or physical disabilities- including some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Our vision is of a society where disabled people are equal participants and have access to the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
We are a top 100 national charity with a turnover of over £74 million, working with more than 2,000 people at around 330 locations across England and Wales. We employ approximately 3,500 people and regularly win awards for our innovative, high quality range of services
We provide everything from 24-hour care to a few hours of support a week. Our support is always designed around each person because we know one size does not fit all. Some people may require minimal support; those with complex needs may require considerably more.
To find out more about the work of United Response, please visit: www.unitedresponse.org.uk
Every Vote Counts resources have been created as part of United Response’s Every Vote Counts campaign. The booklets cover the following:
‘How politics affects your life’ – this booklet explains how the law works, the basic rights of all people and how these things impact our lives on a daily basis.
- ‘How politics works’ – this booklet explains how MPs are elected and how they can help the community. The booklet also explains the work of political parties, and how the House of Lords and the Queen are involved in decision-making.
- ‘How to get involved in politics’ – this booklet explains the process of voting. There is also information about joining a political party and about getting involved in campaigning.
- Supporter’s Guide – this short booklet provides information on how to help someone with learning disabilities get more involved in politics and voting. The booklet covers topics such as bias and mental capacity.
- We have also created a dedicated website – www.everyvotecounts.org.uk
Easy News – Easy News is the first news magazine designed to be accessible for people with learning disabilities. Politics and the news are often inaccessible to people with learning disabilities because of the use of jargon and difficult language – that’s why United Response decided to create an easy read news magazine. Easy News has been published since January 2013 every two months and focuses on the biggest news stories hitting the headlines. In June 2014, Easy News was awarded Best Education and Training Publication at The Charity Awards. Find out more at www.unitedresponse.org.uk/easy-news