Towards the end of 2020 Innovate Trust’s Skills and Wellbeing Department was approached by the Electoral Commission in Wales. In advance of the Senedd elections in May 2021 and the historic change in voting age, the Commission was seeking assistance with extending it inclusivity agenda by promoting voting among our participants. As part of this department, Take Charge (and its sister project Step On, also funded through the European Social Fund) is delivering a series of activities on issues around democracy and voting.
The Take Charge project is specifically not involved in party politics; however, as our project supports people to get closer to employment, anyone entering the workplace will benefit from having the confidence and knowledge to take part in discussions with colleagues, and should also be able to know how their taxes are used. We also recognise that few people with a learning disability vote, and that there are few resources to enable them to learn about the nature of democracy and why voting of itself is important.
Innovate’s Participation department will be working alongside us, holding separate sessions on manifestos and the different political parties, so that people will have a chance to discuss some of the more contentious aspects of elections
We have now held our first session which was a general introduction to voting and why we do it. Only one participant had ever voted in an election and when asked why, responses from the others were ‘I don’t understand it’, ‘it’s boring’. Part of the session used a real-life example based on the recently-issued current Cardiff Council budget consultation. We also looked at the election results from the USA and the storming of the Capitol building.
This is the first of a series, and as the election comes closer we will be including more about the practicalities of voting, using the range of resources available on the EC website.
Watch this space for updates!