Developing ICT skills and networks of support.
Earlier this month, I spent two days at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester with Rob Holland, our senior parliamentary officer.
I attended as a spokesperson for Mencap and people with a learning disability. I put my heart into the role, as I want to make a difference for people’s equal rights.
Party Conference is an event that all political parties have once a year. Party members and MPs come together with businesses and charities to discuss many issues including health, education, employment and the economy.
I attended five fringe events on health, social care, police and education. A fringe event is a meeting where MPs and stakeholders debate a specific subject and people in the audience can ask questions.
I attended a Special Educational Needs debate with Sharon Hodgson MP. Sharon is the Shadow Minister for Children and Families.
I asked a question on the importance of work experience. Sharon said it was a good point and if Labour won the election they would want to see work experience for everyone.
The second fringe event I attended was a meeting about health and social care, where Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Secretary talked about the health and social care system. I asked what Labour would do about places like Winterbourne View and what they would do to stop the abuse of people with a learning disability. Andy said it was a scandal. One of the reasons he gave was that care workers are underpaid and undervalued and this needs to change.
On my last day of the conference, I attended a policing fringe event that was very interesting. Unfortunately it was very busy and I wasn’t able to get my question in about learning disability hate crime and Mencap’s Stand by me campaign.
I believe it’s really important to attend the party conferences to make sure the voice of people with a learning disability is heard and listened to. It’s particularly important at the moment, because of all the changes to education, health and social care, as well as cuts to benefits.
Some of the fringe events were not always accessible and I was pleased to be with my colleague Rob, who could explain things to me.
It was really busy and I was pleased about getting my questions in at the fringe events and about being mentioned by DeHavilland, which is a parliamentary news organisation.