In the run up to this week’s local elections, we recently hosted an Election Event (16 April) at our Purple Playhouse Theatre in Hove in association with Speak Out and St John’s School and College.
People with learning disabilities are often excluded from the democratic process because of the way in which it works, the language used and the speed at which the candidates speak. The event allowed candidates from the Green Party, Brighton & Hove Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour Group AND voters to talk to each other, asking questions about homelessness, education and adult social care. We came away with the feeling that both the candidates and voters had really benefited from the event.
This is what some of the people who use our services had to say about the event:
‘I want people to stand up for their own rights so people can have their own voice to get their voice out’ – Jamie
‘It was a good event. I am hoping to see improvements because it’s not good to see homeless people on the streets.’ – Stuart
Our Voices Manager Cleo Dibb said, ‘Creating accessible hustings events is one of many steps we can take in supporting people with Learning Disabilities or autism in the political process. Everyone, including the local council candidates, came away from the event with a better understanding of how people with Learning Disabilities or autism can be supported to access politics, voting and their rights as citizens.’
We were thrilled that BBC Sussex covered the event. You can take a listen on BBC Sounds – it’s 26.46 minutes in.
If you’re after more information, the Electoral Commission in association with Mencap have designed an easy read guide to the 2019 local elections to help those with a learning disability understand how to register and vote on 2nd May.
A very big thank you to everyone who both attended and participated in the event.