About 1,000 people with learning disabilities across the country are expected to attend workshops which aim to inform them about politics and Parliament and to get them involved in the ‘national conversation.’
Love Your Vote, a national campaign by leading disability and autism support provider Dimensions, was launched at the Houses of Parliament today. (Monday 28th October) The Houses of Parliament Outreach Service, which works on behalf of the House of Commons and House of Lords, is partnering with Dimensions and will run the accessible workshops across the country, which aim to help adults with learning disabilities engage with Parliament.
Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “We need to do more to consider how people with a learning disability can be drawn into the national conversation.”
The campaign is the first of its kind on a national scale. Workshops are free and open to everyone with a learning disability. A total of 50 workshops across 25 venues will take place through the campaign; with spaces for 1,000 people to attend the workshops in total. People can register for the workshops by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.dimensions-uk.org/loveyourvote
The inspiration for the campaign came as Dimensions found that just 10% of people with learning disabilities supported by the organisation voted in the last election.
Sir Robert Rogers, Clerk of the House of Commons, said: “The House of Parliament’s Outreach Service involvement with the Love Your Vote workshops aims to raise awareness of how Parliament works and to empower and enable adults with learning disabilities to be active participants in our democracy and to ensure that their voices are heard by decision makers, including MPs and Peers.
“It’s clear that people with a learning disability are not as engaged in political life as we would like them to be. The Love Your Vote campaign has provided Parliament Outreach with an excellent opportunity to reach out to this group, raise awareness about the work of Parliament, and to encourage people with a learning disability to get involved in the political process.”
Steve Scown, Chief Executive of Dimensions, said: “It is very disappointing that so few people have used their opportunity to vote in the past and it is so important to ensure people know all about their voting rights.
“The rights of people with learning disabilities and autism should never be marginalised and I really hope this campaign will help people to understand the voting system further and be encouraged to participate in making future decisions for this country.
Dimensions is a not-for-profit organisation which supports about 3,000 people with learning disabilities and autism. More information about the campaign can be found at www.dimensions-uk.org/loveyourvote