Empowering Choice

June 12, 2017

The Heathers took the general election very seriously, they had a board outside the office where they put up the easy read manifestos from all the major parties and not to sway your thoughts but UKIP did not have an easy read manifesto and neither did the Conservative Party.

As part of the preparation Chris Gell, Manager of the service, contacted all five major parties for accessible versions of their manifesto.

Here Chris tells us what happened next;

“The Liberal Democrats had one to send straight away, the Green Party was easy to access, UKIP were very clear that they just don’t do one, Labour had to send an email to the department to request it, which is a bit of a strange concept as the people who need the easy read and accessible guides do not tend to utilise email easily and despite three emails the Conservative Party did not respond with an easy read accessible version, the version positioned on the board was from Mencap’s website. We talked about voting in the house meeting, three individuals that we support expressed an interest in voting.

“Polly, with her voting card on the day, went off to vote by herself and did not require support, the other residents that voted were Trevor, who had never voted before and at 54 he found this really empowering and was telling colleagues about it on his return.

Sally also voted, she had voted once before but not for a long time, she was very happy to have voted, each person was very clear on who they were voting for and why and this we put down to our preparation and talking to each person about voting and what they want from the government from the future. The individuals who voted have always voted a certain way but were very clear on why they had voted.

“We were not allowed to take pictures in the polling station of voting but the individuals we support enjoyed this experience. The board also sparked conversations with colleagues, families and visitors about the election and developed some good discussions.”

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