Blog First newspaper for people with learning disabilities launched On Wednesday United Response was in the House of Commons launching Easy News, which we believe to be the first easy read newspaper designed for people with learning disabilities. The fruits of a year of hard work (not to mention decades of thinking about how to promote equality for the people we support), we were delighted that the launch was a success. Politicians from all parties put aside their differences to throw their support behind Easy News. Esther McVey MP, the minister for disabled people, was joined by Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP, her shadow. Esther called the newspaper “a wonderful initiative”. The media were also massively supportive, from the Guardian to the BBC to Community Care, who described Easy News as "hopefully another staging post on the road towards equal citizenship for people with learning disabilities." In total, around 100 people gathered in the House of Commons, including people with learning disabilities, other charities, peers and MPs from all three of the main political parties. The event was hosted by Conservative MP Eleanor Laing, who described her passionate belief in the importance of clear communication, alongside Martyn Lewis CBE, the President of United Response. Martyn interviewed Nick Smith and John Nettles, two people with learning disabilities who worked on translating major news stories into an “easy read” format, which uses simple words and visual cues. Nick said “It’s fantastic to be here.” He also said , "I like to stay informed. I watch the news two or three times a day, I like to see if anything's changed... But I know some people who can't keep up with things because they can't read. I hope people like that will think Easy News is good, that it helps. The news is important for everybody." We've been delighted to work on Easy News with disability activist Kaliya Franklin. As well as helping us come up with the idea and offering encouragement as we made it a reality, she delivered a powerful keynote speech at our event on the importance of information in delivering true equality. As Kaliya said, “Today we are gathered in the heart of power, the seat of democracy, to celebrate how far disabled people have come, and attempt to speed up the pace of travel to full equality. The right to vote is insufficient on its own: without the provision of non-partisan news and information in a format everyone can understand, voting remains a token gesture based upon empty words.” The best thing about such a successful launch - and the phenomenal tidal wave of support we have had for the newspaper online, particularly through Twitter - is that it means more people will actually get to read it. This matters because at the moment our research shows that just 11% of people with learning disabilities read newspapers, usually because they are deterred by the complexity of the language. Similarly, just 16% of people with learning disabilities said they were interested in politics, and over half didn’t feel that politics actually had an impact on their daily lives. Easy News is designed to change that, with 58% of respondents saying that they would be interested in reading an accessible newspaper. Easy News will be produced every other month and will be available in paper, downloadable PDF and audio versions. The first edition covers top stories from 2012, including changes in the NHS, recent successes in the Paralympics and much more. Future editions will carry more up to date news. If you'd like to take a look, print a copy, order a printed version or sign up for future editions, click here. And please do spread the word! Jaime Gill, head of press and public affairs.