This morning (Friday 10 April), Chuka Umunna, Labour candidate for Streatham and spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills, met with people with a learning disability and carers from Lambeth Mencap to discuss the issues that matter to them ahead of the General Election.

The event at Lambeth Mencap’s head office in West Norwood was organised by Lambeth Mencap – for whom Chuka Umunna is Patron – and the Royal Mencap Society (Mencap), as part of Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign. Hear my voiceaims to empower people with a learning disability and their families to have their voices heard by their local candidates in the lead up to the General Election on 7 May 2015.

Local constituents with a learning disability asked Chuka Umunna questions about improving healthcare and education, creating more job opportunities for people with a learning disability and tackling disability hate crime.

Following the event, Chuka Umunna MP, said:

 I was delighted to attend the Hear my voice event at Lambeth Mencap and listen to the concerns that local people with a learning disability have. I strongly believe that politicians need to listen to the concerns of all in our society but especially those who are vulnerable or who face real challenges. I believe that we need to create more opportunities for people with a learning disability and improve the support they receive. 

 That is why I am patron of Lambeth Mencap and fully supportive of the Hear my voice campaign. I want to see disability hate crime treated the same as other forms of hate crime, and I agree with the need to support our NHS and education systems. 

Chuka Umunna is the latest MP to confirm his support for the campaign and joins a host of over 400 MPs and future candidates who have signed-up to say they are listening to the voices of people with a learning disability on the Hear my voicewebsite: www.hear-my-voice-org-uk

Constituent Northel Kerr attended today’s event. She has a learning disability and works for Mencap as a Fundraising Administrator. Northel said:

I'm glad I got the opportunity to go to the Hear my voice event in Lambeth with Chuka Umunna. I asked a question about what he would do to support more people with a learning disability get a job. I think it's really important people with a learning disability have the opportunity to speak up and make their voices heard with politicians. 

John Hopkins, who works for Community Support Services at Lambeth Mencap, said:

It was great that Chuka Umunna, Patron of Lambeth Mencap, could attend the Hear my voice event and listen to the views and concerns that local people with a learning disability and carers have. There were lots of issues raised including cuts to education and local services, the need for better healthcare and the need for more job opportunities. 

Jan Tregelles, Mencap’s chief executive, said:

It is encouraging to see so many MPs listening to people with a learning disability and their families about the problems they face and the change they want to see in the next Parliament. They are the experts in what matters to them, so prospective candidates should be listening to what they have to say when they are out on the campaign trail. 

The Hear my voice campaign has also given rise to a Manifesto, which explores the issues that matter most to people with a learning disability and their families and on which they want to see action from the next UK government. These include improving healthcare for people with a learning disability, ending disability hate crime and improving support in education.

To find out more about the Hear my voice campaign and Manifesto, visit: www.hear-my-voice.org.uk

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact Lisa Gilbert, PR Officer at Mencap, on 020 7696 6950 or lisa.gilbert@mencap.org.uk

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.

Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

www.mencap.org.uk  

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email help@mencap.org.uk

About Lambeth Mencap

Lambeth Mencap is a voluntary organisation providing support locally for people with learning disabilities and their families and carers. For more information contact 020 8655 7711 or email info@lambethmencap.org.uk

www.lambethmencap.org.uk

About Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign

People with a learning disability – and the millions of family members, carers and support workers connected to them – can make their voices heard on the issues that matter to them at the 2015 General Election.

Hear my voice is a campaign designed to provide a platform for people with a learning disability and their families to make their voices heard. There are a lot of different ways to get involved, from sharing what matters to you, to holding an event to get people with a learning disability registered to vote. Through grassroots campaigning, Hear my voice will ensure the next Government improves the lives of people with a learning disability.

www.hear-my-voice.org.uk

About learning disability

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability, which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.

Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, like dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.