Press release 10 October 2014 – for immediate release
Labour’s Richard Wilson supports campaign to make voices of people with a learning disability heard in general election
Today, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford, Richard Wilson, has signed up his support for Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign.
The new campaign is about empowering people with a learning disability and their families to have their voices heard by their local MPs and candidates in the lead up to the May 2015 General Election.
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK but many feel they are not listened to by those in power and the issues they that are important to them – like hate crime, better healthcare and education – are often not talked about.
Richard Wilson said:
“People with a learning disability and their families are as much a part of our society as anyone else and deserve to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. I am listening and I hope that many more MPs and potential candidates will do the same by getting on board with Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign.”
Richard wrote the following on the Hear my voice website:
“I am listening because I believe it is a fundamental human instinct to take responsibility for each other and care for the vulnerable as a society. I believe this instinct is more powerful than the instinct to grab what we can for ourselves. This is why I am in politics. I want to fight for the most vulnerable and to persuade everyone else that this is the right thing to do for our society. It is morally right but also the instinct to take responsibility for each other is what defines our humanity.”
Richard Wilson is the latest to confirm his support for the campaign and joins a host of other MPs and future candidates who have signed-up to say they are listening to the voices of people with a learning disability on the new Hear my voice website: www.hear-my-voice-org-uk
Through the website, people with a learning disability and their families have a space to share their experiences with their local MP and, in return, MPs and candidates can show their support by signing-up to say they are listening.
Jan Tregelles, Mencap’s chief executive, said:
“It is encouraging to see so many MPs listening to people with a learning disability and their families about the problems they face and the change they want to see in the next Parliament. They are the experts in what matters to them, so prospective candidates should be listening to what they have to say when they are out on the campaign trail.”
Lord Brian Rix, Mencap President, said:
“There are 1.4 million people in the UK with a learning disability and 6 million more family members and carers connected to them. However they often tell us they feel they are not listened to by politicians and subsequently many of the challenges they face go unheard and unresolved. We are asking Members of Parliament and prospective candidates to listen to what people with a learning disability and their families have to say.”
The campaign has also given rise to a Manifesto, which explores the issues that matter most to people with a learning disability and their families and on which they want to see action from the next UK government. These include improving healthcare for people with a learning disability, ending disability hate crime and improving support in education.
Mencap Young Ambassador Aaron, who is 19-years-old, didn’t get the extra support he needed with reading and writing when he was at school. He said:
“If I’d had more support I could have got better grades and my life could be very different. I think there should be more training for teachers and people who work in schools so they recognise people who need support and understand people’s needs. I’m talking to you today because I hope you, as MPs, want to make a difference and stand up for people with as well. We want to go forwards, not backwards.”
To find out more about the Hear my voice campaign and Manifesto, visit: www.hear-my-voice.org.uk
For more information, please contact Lisa Gilbert, PR Officer at Mencap, on 020 7696 6950 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com
About Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign
People with a learning disability – and the millions of family members, carers and support workers connected to them – can make their voices heard on the issues that matter to them at the 2015 General Election.
Hear my voice is a campaign designed to provide a platform for people with a learning disability and their families to make their voices heard. There are a lot of different ways to get involved, from sharing what matters to you, to holding an event to get people with a learning disability registered to vote. Through grassroots campaigning, Hear my voice will ensure the next Government improves the lives of people with a learning disability.
About learning disability
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability, which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.
Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, like dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.
Richard Wilson’s entry on the Hear my voice website is here: https://www.hear-my-voice.org.uk/listening/mr-richard-wilson