Last month, I attended a Royal Mencap Society reception in the House of Commons to celebrate Learning Disability Week.
At the reception I spoke to people with a learning disability, their carers and family members to talk about their personal experiences, the challenges they face and the changes they want to see in society. There were speeches from people with a learning disability and their families as well as Mencap President Brian Rix.
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK but many feel they are not listened to by those in power and the issues they that are important to them – like hate crime, welfare, better healthcare and education – are often not talked about.
I listened to a speech from 27 year old Vijay, who has a learning disability and played an active role in Mencap’s Hear My Voice campaign. The campaign saw over 800 local candidates in the lead up to the general election pledge their support. 151 of them were elected as MPs – meaning over a fifth of the new Parliament pledged to listen more attentively to people with a learning disability and their families.
People with a learning disability and their families are as much a part of our society as anyone else and deserve to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. I am listening and I hope that many more MPs will do the same by getting on board and supporting Mencap and Learning Disability Week.