Royal Mencap Society (Mencap) ambassador and Game of Thrones star, Kit Harington, today (Wednesday) pledged his support for people with a learning disability and urged everyone to sign Mencap’s national petition and support the #StopSleepInCrisis campaign.

In his personal message of support, Kit Harington said:

The learning disability sector in the UK is on the brink of crisis. It is faced with a back-pay bill of £400 million which it cannot pay.

Many of the providers of this essential, ‘sleep-in’ service, face bankruptcy.

And some of the most vulnerable people in our society will be left, without care, without hope and without an independent future.

Stand with Mencap and stand with the incredible people our colleagues support and care for every day.

Please sign our petition. People’s lives depend on your support.

Kit Harington went on to explain that he’d had the great privilege of growing-up alongside his cousin, Laurent, who has Down’s syndrome and autism, and how Mencap has supported Laurent, throughout his life.

Kit Harington added:

The special relationship I have had with my cousin Laurent, throughout my life, has given me a privileged understanding of learning disability and the critical role that organisations like Mencap play in providing the care that makes an independent life possible. Overnight ‘sleep-ins’ are an essential part of that 24/7 care service.

It saddens me that there is still such a stigma attached to learning disability, which is why I became a Mencap ambassador. I want to help shine a spotlight on the vital work that Mencap and other providers do, it makes such a difference to hundreds of thousands of ordinary families across the UK.

Commenting on the role of Mencap ambassadors Mencap CEO, Jan Tregelles, said:

This is the most critical issue that Mencap has faced in 70 years.

We are hugely grateful for all of the time and support that ambassadors like Kit, dedicate to Mencap and the lives of people with a learning disability.

As Kit has said, it is indeed a privilege to understand learning disability and the love and joy that a member of the family with learning disability can bring to others.

Please help Mencap protect the future care of some of the most vulnerable people in our society by signing our petition today.


For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

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.   

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email

What is a 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. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.