MSP determined to raise disabled issues

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A group dedicated to helping disabled people in North Lanarkshire combat prejudice met their MSP Richard Leonard recently to discuss a range of issues.

The idea of the meeting was to look at ways to creat a more equal society for people with disabilities. The group - Active Community of Empowered people (ACE) - chatted about employment, hate crime, social isolation and welfare.

Before the election, ENABLE Scotland’s #ENABLEtheVote highlighted issues important to people who have learning disabilities. A total of 80 per cent of people in this group chose to exercise their democratic right to vote in electing the new Scottish Parliament. This compares to the 30 per cent of people who have learning disabilities who usually vote.

ACE member Sam Francis, from Newarthill said: “What we think is not always heard or listened to. But people who have learning disabilities have a lot to say about important issues. It is important that our MSPs who represent us talk to us and listen to what we have to say. Mr Leonard has promised to do this.

“#ENABLEtheVote has given us more opportunities to have our say in politics. Meeting our MSP was the important next step in this.

“We were really interested to hear from Mr Leonard, and were pleased to hear he would be taking action on the issues we raised.”

Mr Leonard said: “I was very impressed with the ACE group – meeting the group and listening and learning from them is important to me. I learned a lot about particular issues I can help influence, especially employment. It is shocking that less than 8 percent of adults who have learning disabilities are able to find work. I aim to push this up the Scottish Government’s agenda.

“I really value the group having a collective voice on issues that are important to them. People who have learning disabilities have the right to demand equality and I’m happy to help and support the group as their MSP.”