12th August 2021 • My Family Our Needs
A popular easy-read newspaper produced by and for people with learning disabilities will this year begin a ‘rolling news service’ to deliver new stories more regularly and as they happen.
Disability charity United Response will translate more frequent standalone stories into easy read and publish them on its website as part of its flagship Easy News newspaper, which has been running since 2013.
Previously printed and distributed until 2018, it is now hosted solely online due to ongoing funding challenges.
The move to a regular rolling news service aims to ensure that the most current and topical events are made as accessible and available to people with learning disabilities as possible, as well as to others who benefit from easy read resources – such as those with English as a second language.
United Response’s Easy News ‘consultants’ – news editors with learning disabilities or autism supported by United Response – have been praised for covering sensitive and challenging topics this year, including the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the 10-year anniversary of the abuse at learning disability hospital Winterbourne View.
United Response is committed to ensuring those with learning disabilities or autism are informed about the world which surrounds them, and the charity’s many easy read resources are at the heart of this commitment.
Alicia Hurn, United Response job coach in Manchester, said: “We are so incredibly proud of how Easy News has transformed the way people with learning disabilities and autism can access and understand the news. Being able to source and digest information is something so many of us take for granted, but it is so much harder for many people – including those we support.
“Easy News has been cutting through the complex since 2013, making some of the biggest stories of the past eight years easier to understand. We’d love to print and post every edition like we used to but that’s presently not possible. Instead, we’re changing how we produce it to meet the demands of the present-day news cycle and to make stories even more readily available to disabled people than they once were.”
Rahman, one of the Easy News editors, said: “It is much better to have stories each week, for example, which are more up-to-date than when it [Easy News] was published every other months.”
Ben, another editor, added: “Easy News makes tough topics easier to understand. I am glad to be involved with easy read and to inform and educate our readers.”
Easy News was previously a printed product, delivered to home addresses and placed in local shared spaces such as libraries and community hubs. Without funding or external support, the newspaper will remain an online product only for the foreseeable future – limiting its reach and value.
If you would like to donate to United Response to help it print its valuable easy read resources, including Easy News, please visit unitedresponse.org.uk/get-involved/donate.