|Southall MP Backs New Disability Campaign|
The charity Mencap want more politicians to get involved
The Ealing Southall MP, Virendra Sharma, has signed up to show 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.
Mr Sharma 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.
Virendra Sharma MP said: "I'm listening to people with a learning disability because I feel strongly about this group of people being fully included in our society.
''Before I became an MP I worked for 10 years in learning disability services and have a first-hand experience of the many challenges faced by people with a learning disability and their families.
''These are some of the most vulnerable in our society and listening to people with a learning disability and involving them is not just a question of equality but one of respecting their human rights.
''I hope other MPs and candidates will also pledge to listen so that people with a learning disability and their families are heard and we build a society where they are valued and respected as equals."
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.”
29th October 2014