At Merchants Place in Cromer, Norman Lamb took part in a Question and Answer session with 30 constituents from North Norfolk who either have a learning disability or have a loved one with a learning disability.
Ahead of the upcoming general election on 7 May, Norman Lamb answered local concerns about better learning disability training for doctors and nurses, more one-to-one support to help people with a learning disability get out and about, more local job opportunities, stopping cuts to personal budgets, and tackling hate crime and abuse in the community.
The event was organised with Opening Doors, as part of Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign which aims to empower people with a learning disability and their families to have their voices heard by their local MPs and candidates in the lead up to the May 2015 General Election.
Minister Norman Lamb said:
Every day, in North Norfolk, decisions are made that impact on people with learning disabilities and their families.
That’s why I felt it important to attend today’s Hear my voice event, organised by Mencap and Opening Doors, to hear the concerns people with a learning disability have and how we can tackle them.
People with a learning disability face many challenges and it’s vital their voice is heard in the lead up to the election.
Carl Bygrove has a learning disability and is vice chair of Opening Doors. He co-chaired today’s question and answer session. Carl said:
It’s really important that we had a chance to meet the local MP, Norman Lamb. It’s important that people with a learning disability had a chance to ask questions about the things that are important to them and find out what he would do if he was elected again.
I think people really enjoyed the sessions and they found out more about how to vote and why it’s important.
Norman Lamb is the latest MP to confirm his support for the campaign and joins a host of other MPs and future candidates who have signed-up to say they are listening to the voices of people with a learning disability.
Through the campaign website, people with a learning disability and their families have a space to share their experiences with their local MP and, in return, MPs and candidates can show their support by signing-up to say they are listening.
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.
Lord Brian Rix, Mencap President, said:
There are 1.4 million people in the UK with a learning disability and 6 million more family members and carers connected to them. However they often tell us they feel they are not listened to by politicians and subsequently many of the challenges they face go unheard and unresolved. We are asking Members of Parliament and prospective candidates to listen to what people with a learning disability and their families have to say.
The 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.
For more information, please contact Lisa Gilbert, PR Officer at Mencap, on 020 7696 6950 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
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 Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com.
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.
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’.