In the run up to local and national elections Providence Row runs a series of 'registration stations' - supporting our clients to register to vote.
Learning Programme participant Stephen recently registered this way. We asked him why registering to vote was important to him.
"I’ve never voted before in my life, I just hadn’t, so I thought I’d give it a try. I thought you’d have to be armed with all this information, what school you went to, your mother’s maiden name, all that nonsense but it was easy to do. Chris said it would just take a couple of minutes.
It was easy because there was someone to go through it with me and support. It took about 3 minutes. I can go and vote now, you know what I mean, next week, 3rd May. I know where to go, it’s just over the road. I’ll go and put my X on the spot. I don’t think it will change the outcome of the elections because this is not a marginal seat, it’s a Labour seat but at least I’ll know I’ve voted.
One of the things that attracted me was getting my name on the electoral register, it’s like proof that I exist. If someone was looking for me they could find me on the electoral register. It’s taken me 40 years to get to this point, I’m 53 now and I’ve never voted before. The people who don’t vote because it’s a protest, it’s not really a protest because you’re not voting. If you don’t vote and someone comes in that you disagree with, you don’t have much to say because you didn’t put your vote.
The issues that are important to me are healthcare, homelessness, finance, money, pensions, things like that.
I think Providence Row should run Register to Vote sessions around elections because most people who are homeless are quiet. When you register to vote, you’re not hidden away. It matters so that people don’t get forgotten about, they can get their voice heard."