For the recent general election we supported our service users to vote and understand the voting process. It was very successful, three of our service users voted for the first time and they all said they would vote again.
We started off by approaching each patient to discuss the election, their rights and the voting process. We used the easy read voting guide created by Mencap which was a very useful visual aid to explain the voting process and generate conversations. Once service users showed an interest in voting they were supported to register online and complete postal vote applications if they chose to vote this way. As much as possible service users were encouraged to do as much of this themselves.
To support service users to decide who to vote for we created an election guide with summaries for 5 different policies across the 3 main parties. This was created from each parties manifesto. Please see attached examaples of the election guide which we created and used with service users.
As we went through each one together service users were asked what they liked and didn't like and asked to choose the party they liked best by selecting a card with the party logo. At the end they could review all the cards they chose and then select the party they wanted to vote for.
This activity seemed to work really with two of our service users who did engage well. One of the service users was not as willing to engage in the activity but did get involved in discussions about the election and was supported to look through the election guide to help them make their decision.
Two of our service users were supported to make postal votes and one was supported to the local polling station and for all three this was the first time they'd ever voted. Feedback was they enjoyed the experience and will vote again.
Specialist Speech & Language Support Worker
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust