Elections, voting and having your say

Ensuring that people with a learning disability and their families get their voices heard on the issues that affect their lives, just like any other citizen, is at the heart of the work we do.

Over the years, we have been committed to ensuring that the people we support can participate fully in elections and make informed choices about who they want to cast their vote for.

This has included:

We are proud to have been recognised for these efforts on many occasions. In 2018, we were finalists for the Diversity Champion of the Year Award at the first ever National Democracy Week Awards.

Supporting the country to vote

We have continued to build on these advances on the national stage by raising these issues directly with cabinet ministers and key electoral public bodies.

In February 2019, we supported our ambassador and self-advocate Charlotte Thomson to meet with the Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith MP, and give a speech about Polling Station Accessibility from a voter’s point of view at the Association of Electoral Administrators’ Conference in Brighton.

Supporting Londoners to vote

Most recently our Self-Advocate Group and staff were recognised by the London Assembly for providing advice and sharing their expertise to their election services team, to produce an easy read guide to ensure that Londoners with learning disabilities have an opportunity to understand how the Greater London Authority works ahead of the 2021 London Elections.

After the project, the London Assembly said:

“We would like to say a special thank you to the self-advocates from Harrow Mencap whose expertise has helped us to make this information about the London Assembly more accessible to everyone living in London.”

For a copy of the easy read How the London Assembly works for you guide, please click here.

Since 2018, we have done this with our regular forum events which provide people with the opportunity to engage with local councillors and decision-makers on different issues such as:

For more on our forums, you can check out our video below:

We also work with the people we support to prepare them to engage at our events and elsewhere, by helping them to build up their confidence and public speaking skills as well as drafting questions

We have teamed up with partner organisations to run public speaking workshops on pronunciation, warrior poses, speechwriting and audience engagement. This equipped some of the people we support to go and make speeches at the Speaker’s House in Parliament for the first time in 2018.

Tamsin, who made one of the speeches said:

“The event was really good, because it made me confident speaking in front of a large crowd in an important place. I was very proud of myself. The workshops were really good and I loved all the activities.”