Jo Whiley, the TV and radio broadcaster and Mencap ambassador, is asking supporters to contact their local MP so that support for people with a learning disability and their families and carers continues to stay high up the political agenda.

Jo, whose sister Frances has a learning disability, has shared her story about how her family have had to overcome a number of very challenging situations in order to have the peace of mind that Frances receives the best care and support available.

She says: 

At her best Frances is joyful and exuberant and the life and soul of the party - even if the party is just you and her in a garden centre cafe. She's extremely sociable and wants to talk to every passing stranger no matter how reluctant they are she will win them over with her persistence to know their name, their age, their dog's name and birthday!

More than anything Frances is extremely loving. She gives the best hugs of anyone I know and if anyone is sad or crying she will engulf them and pat their back telling them 'It's alright, better now' - many people will testify to the magic in Frances' cuddles. Frances is great when she is happy.

Sadly however, in more recent years Frances’ mental health issues have meant her parents, who have been her primary carers for 47 years, have faced extremely difficult decisions to make sure Frances continues to receive the support she needs.

Jo adds:

I don’t want to see any families needlessly go through the upset and heartache that so many of them sadly still face. This is why I want people to speak out to their MPs and to make sure learning disability stays on the agenda so that people with a learning disability and their families and carers continue to receive the very best support they can.

Jo will be sharing her family’s full story with Mencap later this summer.