On Tuesday (17 Nov), John Penrose MP, the Minister for Constitutional Reform, joined pupils for a lively Rock Enrol!™ workshop. The workshop took place at Little Heath School in Romford where pupils who have a learning disability were able to discuss important issues with the Minister and learned about how to make their voices heard in elections.
The workshop was part of Mencap’s Me and My Vote project, funded by the Cabinet Office. The project aims to encourage people with a learning disability to register to vote and use their vote on what matters to them. As part of the project, Mencap adapted the Government’s Rock Enrol!™learning resource.
Rock Enrol!™ is a Government initiative set up to encourage young people to engage in politics and register to vote. Mencap adapted the resources so that it could be delivered to and by young people with a learning disability. The Me and My Vote project was set up to help address some of the reasons why some people with a learning disability have not registered to vote, including help to understand the registration process and why it is important to vote.
John Penrose, Minister for Constitutional Reform said:
“Strong, healthy democracies give everyone a chance to contribute. Everyone who is eligible to vote should be able to, and encouraged to use their voice. I am really encouraged by the enthusiasm of everyone I’ve met today and how important the issues are to them. I hope they will inspire others to get involved too.”
Vijay Patel, the 28 year old Mencap ambassador who has a learning disability and ran the session said:
“We need more people with a learning disability to vote in elections because many of the decisions of politicians directly affect our lives. Delivering the Rock Enrol!™ sessions with John Penrose MP was great because he could see the barriers that people with a learning disability face but also how with the right support people with a learning disability can vote. ”
Laura Truswell, project manager for Mencap’s Me and My Vote, said:
“It was great to have the Minister listen to people with a learning disability talk about the issues that matter to them and have the Minister talk about his experience of politics. Today you could see so many young people with a learning disability passionately discussing what they care about and how they would run the country. “
Mencap and other disability groups are working with the Government and Local Authorities on how to remove any existing barriers to registering to vote. For example, the Mencap Easy Read Guide, also developed with funding from Cabinet Office was sent to Local Authorities.
For more information about how to get involved with Mencap’s Rock Enrol! workshops, visit www.mencap.org.uk/rockenrol
About Rock Enrol!
Rock Enrol! is a high quality, simple to use, interactive learning resource which encourages young people aged 16-19 to engage with democracy. It can be used by teachers, youth leaders and young people themselves in a range of settings and can be adapted for younger age groups. Rock Enrol! uses interactive games to get students discussing important issues, whether local or global, and to get their voice heard by registering to vote in the session itself. Find out more here
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. www.mencap.org.uk. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org