After last month’s ministerial visit from Chris Skidmore MP; Minister for the Constitution, which was part of his Every Voice Matters tour The Being Heard in Government Group (BHIG) were excited and honoured to be invited to attend an All Party Political Group (APPG) meeting about Learning Disability and Democracy. The meeting was held in one of the committee rooms in The Houses of Parliament and a group of 7 people attended.
We heard reports from Chris Skidmore, and other people about some of the barriers people with learning disabilities face when it comes to democratic involvement.
Over the past three years we have done much work locally to get people with learning disabilities more involved in democracy, we have worked with other services like Mencap, Grace Eyre and St John’s college to encourage people to register to vote and to vote, we have organised accessible hustings with local politicians, attended public debates. Before the 2015 election we worked with all local political parties to ensure that information was available in easy read. During that time we have spoken with many people with learning disabilities about their experience of democratic involvement, particularly voting. We are sure from this information that the key to many people getting involved in a positive way is having good support around them, so Katie Lord, one of the BHIG group members asked the panel if they would ensure that care plans had democratic involvement included in them in the same way that cultural and religious need is. She got a very positive response with some possible action as a result…so watch this space.
We are very pleased to say that we will also be attending the next one which is about apprenticeships, so if you have any thoughts …. Do let us know.