Neither stormy weather nor a tube strike which paralysed much of London’s public transport stopped 130 guests from making it to the House of Commons last night for a one-off pop exhibition of Postcards from the Edges.

MPs, peers, charities and supporters mingled with disabled people from across the country who had submitted postcards to the project.


As well as Kate Green MP, the shadow spokesperson for disability, we were thrilled to be joined by Dame Anne Begg MP, our room sponsor, and Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party. The atmosphere was lively and celebratory, making it a very fitting climax to this first phase of United Response's biggest ever creative project.


The event was organised as a celebration of the work of the hundreds of disabled people who sent in postcards about their lives, and to mark the passing of the crucial Care Bill through Parliament. Many of the postcards in the exhibition touched on issues which the Care Bill is designed to tackle, such as finances, well-being and isolation. By giving MPs a chance to learn directly from disabled people about why the Bill matters, we hope it will encourage them to ensure the Bill is fully supported and funded in the future.


Kate Green MP reflected on these themes in her speech to the guests. She said “It’s high time we celebrated everybody’s role in our society. The contribution of every disabled person is important in our word. It’s fantastic to see these postcards which show disabled people speaking out for themselves. That’s never been needed more because there is a very unpleasant environment out there, a hostile rhetoric that disabled people are undeserving, scroungers or not contributing.


“Nothing could be further from the truth. Disabled people are our colleagues, friends, mums and dads, the individual who looks after your kids, or the person who cheers you up at the end of the day. One of the lovely things about this fantastic postcards exhibition is that it celebrates all those other roles disabled people play. It’s a beautiful and happy exhibition and I’m delighted to be here.”


Many people with mental health needs or disabilities who took part in the project came along, coming from Cumbria to Kent. Three of them formed a panel and discussed the reasons they took part. They were Sue Kent from Swansea, Yvonne J Foster from Brighton and Nathan Davies from Wrexham.


Nathan spoke about how taking part in the project had boosted his confidence. He said the best thing about Postcards from the Edges is that it “allows disabled people to be heard and have a voice like everyone else.” Nathan was certainly listened to during the evening, talking passionately to Ian Lucas, his constituency MP, and many other parliamentarians. The above photo shows Nathan surrounded by no less than 6 MPs who had become his latest fans.


We were very grateful for the support of Kate Green, Dame Anne Begg MP and every one of the MPs, peers and postcard makers who showed up. We will now begin planning the next phase of Postcards from the Edges, which promises to be very exciting – watch this space. And in the meantime, keep submitting your postcards at www.postcardsfromtheedges.org.uk


See more photos from the event on our Facebook page.


Jaime Gill, head of press and public affairs.