At the start of last year, as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, United Response launched Easy News the first ever dedicated news magazine created specifically for people with learning disabilities. 

Launched at the House of Commons at an event attended by both the minister and the shadow minister for disabled people, Easy News set out to provide a regular easy read news source to keep people up-to-date with current affairs and the big issues of the day.

A year on and Easy News has much to celebrate. With the help and expertise of UR Consultants, a group of people with learning disabilities who create the accessible news stories, Easy News has matured into a hard hitting, far reaching news magazine with some 3,000 readers.

United Response recently surveyed subscribers to Easy News to find out how they felt about the news service. We found that nearly 90 per cent of respondents found Easy News easier to understand than other newspapers or TV news programs. One respondent told us: “It sometimes takes me time to ‘digest’ what I read. I can go back [to Easy News] and look again and again if needed, without having to navigate through a whole newspaper to find articles of interest.”

From the start, Easy News hasn’t shied away from tackling the complex stories of the day from the shocking cases of abuse at Winterbourne View care home in our first edition to the sad murder of drummer Lee Rigby, covered in edition 4.Translating these stories into simple words and images has been a challenging, and sometimes upsetting task, but one which we felt to be vital to ensure that Easy News readers are kept as informed as possible. Both of these stories provoked much debate and feedback from readers and their supporters, proving the need for such hard hitting stories to be tackled in this way.

As the seventh edition of Easy News is published today, we continue to learn about what people want from an accessible news service. Our lead story in this issue is the death of Nelson Mandela, and we have already had feedback that some people may have found further background on the story useful, a point which we have noted for when we cover similar stories in the future. Other stories to look out for in this edition include coverage of the UK floods and the winter Olympics.

We hope that you enjoy this edition of Easy News and as the news magazine celebrates its first birthday we want to thank all our readers and ask that you carry on feeding back to us on what you would like to see from your news service. If you would like to subscribe to Easy News, or know someone who might, find out more about Easy News.

Sarah Bartlett, Press Manager