The Houses of Parliament Outreach Service has developed a package of learning resources to help adults with learning disabilities understand how Parliament works. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, spoke about the learning resources with guests at a recent Parliamentary Outreach & Mencap event in Leeds for people with a learning disability [further details about the Leeds event are enclosed in the Editor’s Notes].
The specialist resource pack – including DVD, laminated picture cards, and training script – forms the basis of a learning session in which participants are encouraged to think and talk about who runs the country and the laws they would like to make. A series of exercises using scenes from political, parliamentary and everyday life help learners to find out more about how Parliament works.
The resource pack also includes an easy read handout booklet for learners to take home.
Rt Hon John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said, “It’s very important people find out how to get involved with Parliament and make their voice heard. I hope these learning resources will help to inform, engage and inspire people with Parliament and encourage people to exercise their democratic rights”.
Using the resource pack, Parliamentary Outreach officers are available to lead learning activity sessions but Parliament’s Outreach Service also provides coaching and support for organisations to use the resource in learning sessions for their clients.
Since its launch in 2011, the resource pack has been used by Parliamentary Outreach officers in training sessions throughout the UK. The resource pack has been developed through close work with bodies such as Mencap, and Parliament Outreach is working with a number of organisations, such as Robert Owen Communities and Dimensions UK, to produce UK-wide sessions for adults with learning disabilities and their carers.
Mark Grainger, Regional Campaign Manager, Mencap said: “Mencap has worked with Parliament’s Outreach team to deliver “Get My Vote” training at our London BiG Cuts events. The Outreach team’s presentation’s and literature help attendees have a clearer understanding of how Government works. Along with Mencap’s training, in London, increased numbers of people with a learning disability now have greater knowledge and confidence to vote for the politicians who will best represent them.”
Hayley Koen-Ashley, Team Leader for Robert Owen Communities (ROC), said: “When ROC’s CEO, David Wilson said to me that he would like the people ROC support to have a better understanding of democracy, I made contact with the Parliament Outreach Team to arrange a Parliament training session. The training has really inspired people to share opinions that represent others and has encouraged them to spread the word about parliament.”
For carers or organisations wanting to find out more about the learning resources available for adults with learning disabilities please contact Sharon Stanley, Parliamentary Outreach Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.parliament.uk/ald