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U2 ROCK star The Edge is backing Mencap’s new campaign to get MPs to wake up to learning disability as an election issue.

The bass guitarist, whose cousin, Ciara Lawrence, has a learning disability, said:

“I’ve seen first-hand all of the challenges that Ciara has faced. As a young teen, I was always concerned that because she was so trusting and outgoing, she was wide-open to the cruelty of other people.

“When Ciara was at school, she suffered terrible bullying, and it makes me so angry knowing how much pain she went through.

“She has barreled through a lot of nasty stuff by sheer strength of personality – I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“I’m involved in Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign, because I think it’s important for people like Ciara to have their say on what matters to them and that politicians sit up and listen.”

The Edge – real name Dave Evans – is among a growing army of Mencap supporters who are calling on the Government to do more for people with learning disabilities.

The charity’s new poll highlights the public’s overwhelming calls for an end to discrimination.

More than 8 in 10 people labelled ‘unacceptable’ a number of real-life experiences where people with a learning disability and their families were discriminated against – including being victims of hate crime or being illegally excluded from school.

And in a warning shot to politicians, 88% said that the UK Government should be held responsible for tackling these situations.

Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles said:

“Politicians of all ilks should be ashamed that in 21st century Britain, some of the most vulnerable children and adults in our society get poor healthcare, are victims of horrendous hate crimes, and don’t get access to good state education.

“The British public finds this unacceptable. There is public demand to bring about this change – candidates must listen.”

The Populus poll of 2,062 British adults marks the launch of Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign, which has given rise to a manifesto which presents the issues that matter the most to people with a learning disability and their families – healthcare, hate crime and education.

www.hear-my-voice.org.uk

THERE are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK.

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability that can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.

eople with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people.

Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, like dyslexia.

Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.

Mencap Direct, tel 0808 808 1111