Joan Ryan, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Enfield North, has signed up to show 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 parliamentary 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.
Joan was delighted to have the opportunity to discuss issues affecting people with learning disabilities at an election hustings for Mencap at the New Options Centre on Connop Road, on Friday 17th April.
Mencap has launched a 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.
Joan Ryan, Labour candidate for Enfield North, 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 because I want them to have a voice in forming the policies that affect them. I hope that many more parliamentary candidates will do the same by getting on board with Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign.
I also want to thank Mencap for the opportunity to meet with people with learning disabilities in our constituency election hustings during the campaign and to have the chance to address some of the key issues involved directly.”
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