Tell us a bit about yourselves
I live in a supported living service. I am 30 years old. I recently did some volunteering for Mencap that led me to be a part of the ‘Step-Up’ programme, which is an employability course to help people get into work. As a result, I have gained paid employment, working for Mencap as a support worker. I have lots of hobbies including theatrical arts. I like to do my own acting and blogging that I post to my YouTube channel.
I’m a volunteer for Golden Lane Housing and like to keep busy with lots of other activities in my spare time. I also swim and compete for a disabled swimming club. I won a gold medal last year and a trophy and I want to carry on improving. I like going on holiday with my friends, we're planning to go to Centre Parcs in May and I'm having a family holiday later this year.
What are the important issues for you as a person with a learning disability?
Teddy: Helping people in local services. More support for people to get out and about and into the community. There needs to be more funding to keep local centres and community places open for people with a learning disability, because lots of places have been closed down due to lack of funding.
Jonathan: Housing and health. I live in my own flat and am supported by Leonard Cheshire. I like being independent. Last year I was ill and had to have a stay in hospital. I was lucky that I received good treatment but I know lots of people don't. My parents were fantastic and stayed with me at the hospital but lots of people don't have that kind of support. I have a really close family and we all stick together.
Did the candidates have answer for the issues that were important to you?
Jonathan: Yes, I think they understood the issues, especially about the accessible toilets. They talked a lot though, so I kept having to give them 1 minute warnings.
Teddy: It was okay. They dealt with issues that were spoken about but often its things that I’ve already heard before. They all seemed energetic and want to do thing to help but cuts to funding always cause issues. There are always cuts.
Did you think the answers they gave were accessible / easy to understand?
Teddy: Yes, in a way, for the people here today. But it was done in quite a casual form.
Jonathan: Yes they explained things well. I felt that they gave thorough answers and I hope that they will keep their promises.
What would you like the next mayor of Manchester to do to make the city a better place for people with a learning disability?
Teddy: We want the city to be more accessible to people with disabilities. Maybe there could be improvements to access such as fire exits, toilets and access for people to get around. A lot has been invested into the bus network but they are very narrow buses if you have a wheelchair. Sometimes people cannot get on the bus because they are overcrowded. So maybe there needs to be an option for a community bus for people who have a disability, or maybe there should be more buses so they aren't so busy.
Jonathan: I'd like them to create more job opportunities, I think it's so difficult to get a job. I volunteer but I'd like to get a paid job in an office. I'd like something near to home. I'd need support to get a job and I'd need support at work.
If you were mayor for the day, what would you like to do for people with a learning disability?
Teddy: Book a holiday! Only joking. I would listen to the issues of people with a learning disability. I would also want to make paths and roads more accessible. But there is too much to do in one day!
Jonathan: I would like to change how the city runs, I'd want to make sure people with a learning disability have the same rights, can use public transport and feel safe. A lot of the buses now use ticket machines and I struggle to use my bus pass. This creates a barrier for me when using buses that are operated by certain companies. There needs to be more funding for services and activities for people with a learning disability.
What are your hopes for the future?
Teddy: To work for Mencap and to do what I can to support people. I'd like to grow in self-confidence. I'd also like for Greater Manchester to have fewer cuts to services and for there to be more activities for people with a learning disability. I'd like there to be more funding for charities working in the local community.
Jonathan: I would like to keep improving myself, learn new skills and get a paid job near to home. I am realistic about what I want and would like an admin job that pays enough to cover my bills. I run an activity club for Leonard Cheshire the first Tuesday of every month for people with a learning disability.