Blog Stop excluding people with learning disabilities from public debate - Easy News 4 out now When we first began developing Easy News, one of the reasons was because we knew that many people we support had strong views and yet felt excluded from public debate. When important things happened in the country, they often found it difficult to find out more, as the news was presented in an inaccessible format. Easy News was partly designed to challenge this status quo, by presenting the news in a simple format that invited people with learning disabilities in rather than locking them out. The new edition – out now – contains the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London in May which made international headlines as terrorism again became part of the political conversation, with many TV stations following news of the killing live. Download issue 4 of easy news United Response believes it is hugely important for people with learning disabilities to have access to such news, and the resulting far-reaching debate around religious tolerance, immigration and the role of the military. These are issues which shape our future and we all deserve to know what is happening and have the chance to have our own say. It was perhaps the most complex and sensitive story we have yet put to our consultants, asking them to translate it in a way that stated the facts simply but did not crudely stereotype any of the participants – all in three pages. We think they did a superb job. Prominently featuring news of Rigby’s death is exactly the sort of thing that people with learning disabilities told us they wanted when we first began designing Easy News. We carried out a survey which found that people we support were very interested in national issues such as crime or immigration, and certainly didn’t want a paper which was just focused on disability issues. United Response is about to begin conducting a second survey to investigate how readers have responded to Easy News and to what extent having access to easy read material has helped their understanding of current affairs. We will be sending these to readers in the coming months . As with everything we do, we are keen to improve. So if you are a reader of Easy News, we want to hear from you. What have you enjoyed about the paper and what do you think works well? Do you have any suggestions for how it can be improved so that we can continue to bring you the most relevant and interesting stories out there? If interested, please email [email protected] for more information. Gemma Taylor, media assistant.