The world’s first easy read news magazine, Easy News aims to inform people with disabilities about current affairs and how politics affects our lives, offering a summary of a number of key news stories using plain language and explanatory images.
Also included are a variety of quick news stories, and this month’s edition includes news of the protests in Hong Kong and the first tweet sent by the Queen.
Easy News seeks to encourage debate around a broad range of stories and keep readers informed by simplifying the complex language that can often put people off finding out more about the news. In 2011, disability activist Kaliya Franklin asked United Response to create an accessible news report on a political debate, which was made available via social media.
Following its success, the decision was made to launch a bi-monthly easy read newspaper to keep people informed of key stories and up to date with the news cycle, which it was hoped would foster a broader understanding of news and politics.
When the magazine was first launched at the beginning of 2013, some 40% of people we surveyed could name a big news event, though that number has now increased to 73%, highlighting the benefits of providing information in a clear and simple format.
United Response champions the importance of easy read and believes that a greater understanding of the basic workings of politics and news breeds greater enthusiasm for political involvement.
That’s why we created Every Vote Counts, our campaign for accessible democratic information that was relaunched at the House of Commons last week. We believe that people with learning disabilities need consistent access to news in order to contextualise events and to feel engaged with political issues and able to vote in an informed way.
The campaign aims to support people with learning disabilities and mental health needs to exercise their right to vote at the next General Election, and we have produced a set of easy read resources to encourage discussion about how to get involved in the democratic process.
We have also updated the Every Vote Counts website, which uses easy read to outline how politics affects us, as well as providing advice to supporters and politicians on how to ensure that disenfranchised groups are given the opportunity to learn more about politics.
Diane Lightfoot, Director of Communications & Fundraising, said: “The latest edition of Easy News features a varied range of news stories, maintaining its original aim to make news accessible for the thousands of people with learning disabilities who have found themselves excluded from public debate in the past.
“The success of the magazine speaks to the positive impact that making information accessible can have, and Every Vote Counts further cements our commitment to presenting useful information in an unbiased and clear way.”
If you would like to find out more about the campaign, or for details on how to support someone to use their vote, please visit www.everyvotecounts.org.uk
To download the 12th edition of Easy News, go to: www.unitedresponse.org.uk/easy-news
About United Response
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. To find out more about the work of United Response, please visit: www.unitedresponse.org.uk