As 2015 draws to a close, we thought it was a good time to take a look back at some of the highlights of United Response’s year!

2015 was a big year for politics, with the General Election taking place in May, so we kicked off the year by launching our Every Vote Counts campaign in January, with the aim of encouraging more people with a learning disability to vote.

To strengthen the campaign, in February we employed our very own Political Correspondent, David Allkins, to produce accessible reports during the run up to the General Election. You can watch David’s reports on our YouTube channel.

In March, our popular easy read newspaper, Easy News, made it to the national news… with a slot on Channel 4 News!

With the year getting off to a sprinting start, in April it was time to focus on and celebrate our lovely fundraisers who were taking on their own challenge… the London Marathon!

Heading into May, our Every Vote Counts campaign was in full swing…our Easy News team produced an easy read summary of the political parties’ manifestos, and David Allkins was out and about encouraging key members of parliament, such as David Cameron, to talk about Every Vote Counts.

In June we spoke at the London Autism Show about our experience of supporting young people in transition, an important and growing area of work for United Response.

July saw David Allkins producing his last blog as our Political Correspondent, and after several successful months of reporting, we were delighted to be able to keep David on as our News Correspondent, to continue reporting for us on key issues.

With us enjoying the (for once, hot!) summer weather, in August our intrepid team of fundraisers braved the heat to cycle in RideLondon!

September saw us attending the autumn political party conferences to speak out on the learning disability employment gap. The first fringe event was at the Labour Conference, closely followed by our second event at the Conservative Conference.

With our political campaign work taking a well-earned breather after the busy political season, in October it was time to mark national poetry day and World Mental Health Day with the launch of a poetry collection created in collaboration with a Bristol-based poet, Rogan Wolf. The collections were written by and with people with a learning disability or mental health need.

Then we swung into November for our annual golf day, held in partnership with charity DEBRA at the prestigious Berkshire Golf Club, which raised over £18,000!

We rounded off the year by getting into the festive mood in December at our London Carol Concert; a great way to recognise the remarkable work we have achieved throughout 2015!

We look forward to working with you all in 2016!

Lindsey Simmonds, project manager.