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Media volunteering

Are you interested in sharing your story and experiences with the media? Then why not become a media volunteer for Mencap.

Media volunteers are very important to Mencap's work as we want to ensure people with a learning disability feel empowered to speak up about issues they are passionate about.

Journalists regularly contact us looking for compelling case studies or experiences from people with a learning disability, a family member or a carer. Real life stories in the media help to bring an issue to life. They give the audience insights into the lives of people with a learning disability, increasing public understanding.

Lots of the media volunteers we work with tell us how rewarding it can be, as speaking to the media lets people with a learning disability share their views and experiences and build their confidence.

What is 'the media'? 

The media is how people across the country find out the news. Journalists will find out information about current events and issues and then report on this either on TV, radio, on the internet or in newspapers and magazines. In our work with the media, we always want to ensure people with a learning disability have the opportunity to share their story, and that’s why we’re looking for more media volunteers.

Why become a media volunteer?

Media volunteers are extremely important to Mencap's work. Journalists from a variety of media contact the PR Team on a daily basis, and are frequently looking to interview people with particular experiences of learning disability. Being able to include a 'human interest' element can make or break a story in the media.

What's involved?

Media volunteers can be interviewed anonymously, as we take confidentiality very seriously. We would never share your details without your permission. And if you are happy to be contacted or agree to an interview, we will support you before and during the event.

We often get asked for stories about subjects like early years, education, employment, benefits, health, and relationships. Basically, anything and everything that we might experience in everyday life.

Current media opportunities

If you are happy to talk about your personal experiences with any of the topics below, please fill out the form below or email reallifestories@mencap.org.uk with your contact details and a short paragraph outlining you experiences and we will contact you shortly.

Health

We would like hear from you if you have a health story, for example:

  • Have you recently been to hospital?
  • What is your experience of visiting your GP surgery? 
  • Do you think your learning disability affected the experience of you or someone you know?

Employment

We would like hear from you if:

  • you’re currently working and doing your dream job or a job that’s just slightly different to the norm
  • you're looking for work but keep coming up against barriers such as negative employer attitudes, confusing application forms or difficult interviewing processes.

We would also like hear from you if you’re an employer who has seen the benefits of employing people with a learning disability.

Welfare and benefits

We would like hear from you if:

  • you have a view or been affected by assessments for benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • you have been financially affected by the assessments and the changes to benefits have had an impact on your day to day life. What changes and sacrifices have you made?
  • you’re caring for an adult with a learning disability - what impact has going though benefit assessments or appeals had on them? Are they happy for you to share their experiences with a journalist?

Young people

If you're a young person with a learning disability, and are about to or have recently left education, we would like hear from you. What are your hopes or fears for the future?

Friendships and relationships

We would like hear from you if:

  • you are comfortable telling us about your relationships. Has having a learning disability affected the way you make friends or socialise?
  • you feel worried about going out in public
  • you are part of an amazing club that helps you be part of your community.

Share your story

Don't see an opportunity for you but have a story to tell? We'd still like to hear from you - please fill out the form below or email us at reallifestories@mencap.org.uk and we'll get back to you shortly. 

We’re really grateful to anyone who gets in touch and shares their story, and we’ll try our best to reply to each and every email within a couple of days.  

Meet other media volunteers

Tessa 

Tessa Bolt, a Northumberland woman with Down's Syndrome, has spoken about supported housing. She appeared before a government committee and hopes to encourage other disabled people to speak about causes they are passionate about.

 "Supported housing is something that I am really passionate about and I am really happy that the committee will get to hear about it from someone who has a learning disability and uses supported housing." - Tessa Bolt

Vijay

"I like speaking to the media because I can get my point of view across and speak up for people with a learning disability. Like talking about employment and the barriers that people with a learning disability face when looking for a job.

I did some media work around voting in elections as well. That was important because people with a learning disability need to have their voice heard and to help them understand what the election is all about.

It has helped my confidence as well. The support I get from the media team lets me feel comfortable about how to say what I want to say."

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