Get my vote launches at Learning Disability Today
Thursday 26 November 2009
An interactive voting zone helped kick off Mencap's campaign to make sure people with a learning disability use their vote
This week around 3,500 people attended Learning Disability Today (LDT) – the biggest event about learning disability in the UK. The theme for the event, which took place in London on Wednesday 25 November, was ‘It's your life – develop the life you want!'
Mencap used an interactive voting zone at the event to launch the ‘Get my vote' campaign. ‘Get my vote' is about making sure more people with a learning disability can use their right to vote at the next general election in 2010. At the last general election, only 2 out of 10 people with a learning disability used their vote, compared to 6 out of 10 of the whole UK population.
The LDT voting zone featured a mock polling station, a film area where visitors were interviewed about their views on politics, and a help centre where visitors could learn more about voting and get advice on how to register. Throughout the day an artist with a learning disability drew pictures to represent people's views. Mencap will use the pictures to tell the government how to provide better support for people with a learning disability during the election.
Mencap also used the event to promote the Involve Me project, which is funded by the Renton Foundation and aims to involve people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in decision making.
Seminars at this year's LDT addressed issues such as housing options, employment, relationships and technology in support of personalisation. Mencap's chief executive, Mark Goldring, chaired the seminar ‘Valuing Employment Now – real jobs for people with learning disabilities'. And the head of Golden Lane Housing, Mark McGoogan, spoke at a seminar about housing options.
The keynote address – ‘Good Learning Disability Partnership Boards: ‘Making it happen for everyone' – was delivered in the afternoon by Anne Williams and Scott Watkin, co-national directors for learning disabilities.
Anne Williams said: "Learning Disability Partnership Boards have a key role to play. They need to be really effective agents for change. As a priority, Partnership Boards need to ensure that everyone working with people with a learning disability knows about the government's 'Valuing People Now' strategy."
Find out more about Get my vote
See pictures of this year's Learning Disability Today