People with a range of disabilities have developed a guide to give people who work in social care services their top tips for enabling people to vote.
The guide, which is available to download for free from the Community Integrated Care website, was developed by the charity’s peer reviewers in Leicester – Heidi Neville, Jamie Potts and Sushma Majithia. Peer reviewers are people who are supported by the charity and employed by it too to assess the quality of its services.
It was produced in a session where the reviewers looked at how politics affects their lives and debated how people who work in social care can enable people to take part in the election. The reviewers drew upon their training, which has covered citizenship, rights, and person-centred support, as well as their experience of working with people who have a range of needs.
The guide has been shared with Community Integrated Care’s services across the UK, which support almost 5,000 people. It has also been made available to other social care professionals for free at: www.c-i-c.co.uk/promotingourvoting.
The publication is part of an internal campaign within the charity, aimed at empowering the people it supports to understand the upcoming election and make an informed choice about whether they wish to participate in it.
People who access care and support are amongst the most under-represented electoral groups within society. Over 60% of people with learning disabilities across England and Scotland were not registered to take part in the 2010 general election.
“In our workshop, we learned how much politics affects our lives, both as individuals and people who access support,” said Majithia. “We think that voting is an important right and that lots of people who haven’t been supported to vote previously can and should be enabled to have their say. We hope our guide encourages and assists many more people to take part in the general election.”
Gary Dixon, strategic quality lead for Community Integrated Care, added: “Our peer reviewers are passionate about people who access support leading full lives and being respected as the individuals they are. Voting is a fundamental right and part of being a citizen, so they rightly want to champion this important cause. We're so proud of the guide they produced and know that it will enable many more people to exercise their democratic rights.”
Picture (l-r)Heidi Neville, peer reviewer; Paula Smith, regional manager; Sushma Majithia, peer reviewer; Amie Chivers, senior support worker and Jamie Potts, peer reviewer