It’s about time we had more deaf and hard of hearing people in politics, isn’t it? Well, if you are interested, there is support on offer that could make all the difference come election time.
The charity Action on Hearing Loss is urging people who are deaf or hard of hearing and considering standing in the upcoming local council elections across England in May to find out if they are eligible for financial support from the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund.
People who are deaf or disabled who are able to show they have been involved in or are interested in politics, civic or community activities can now apply for up to £20,000 a year of funding to help pay for communication support, assistive equipment or transport not required by other candidates applying to a political party for selection, or standing for election.
The new limit is an increase on the £10,000 per applicant available in previous years after the Government Equalities Office found the funding was not sufficient for people who need a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
Election candidates who are hard of hearing can apply for funding to cover the expense of communication support, like lipspeakers, notetakers or BSL interpreters. The fund can also cover partial or rental costs of technology – such as speech-to-text reporters, or electronic notetakers – to enable them to follow discussions or hustings during the election campaign.
Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, Paul Breckell, says: “The upcoming local council elections are a great platform for people with hearing loss to campaign for public services in their local community to be fully accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We urge anyone with hearing loss thinking of standing for election to ensure they apply to the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund for funding to ensure their individual communication needs are met during their campaign.”
Helen Grant, Minister for Women and Equalities said: “The Government wants to breakdown the physical, financial and cultural barriers that prevent talented people from playing their part in political life. That is why we have introduced the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund which is an important step towards levelling the playing field.”
For more information, visit http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/elect
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