The Goole based autism and learning disability care home, Goldcrest House, are taking democratic rights very seriously and ensuring their service users, many of which have autism, access the Ballot Box next month during the elections.
Taking a stand and representing the 1.5 million people in the UK with learning disabilities who don’t engage in the voting process, Goldcrest House service users will be casting their ballot at the Pastures Road polling station and voting for who they believe best represents them and their hopes for the future.
Ralph Parish, Goldcrest House Manager says: “Our service users have very real concerns about the decisions that affect them made at a local and national government level. From the judicial process, to hate crime, local policing, health care, education, and rights to work, our service users have experienced discrimination and prejudice not just from members of the public but from the very support organisations and law makers there to protect the most vulnerable in society. This is why we all feel it’s important for our service users to have their say and feel like they are represented.”
Helping service users further Goldcrest House have commissioned Mencap to work with them during advocacy sessions to empower and encourage them to speak up and make decisions about the things that are important to them, such as their rights.
Stephen John, campaign officer for the North East at Mencap says: “As part of developing skills and confidence amongst Goldcrest service users we have introduced them to the voting process through role play in readiness for May the 7th. Additionally we invited their local MP’s to participate and talk about their manifestos and thoughts around learning disability representation within the political system.”
Ralph adds: “I was astonished to hear that 1.5 million people with a learning disability don’t vote and in some cases are illegally turned away from the polling stations when they attempt to vote. Whether you have a learning disability or not we all have that right to vote, to express our opinion and make a decision independently toward what we believe will be best for the way we live. This is why we wholeheartedly embrace this and the work of the Mencap advocacy team.”
Based on Boothferry Road Goldcrest House is a centre of excellence dedicated to addressing the individual needs of adults over 18 who are on the Autistic Spectrum, or have a learning disability. Open 52 weeks a year; its aim is to be the UK’s quality service of choice.