A WOMAN from Saundersfoot is one of a select group of people with learning disabilities who graduated this week from a unique programme funded by the Electoral Commission which aims to increase voter registration amongst their peers.

The group graduated from 'Switched onto Politics', a three-month training course run by the charity All Wales People First and supported by The Electoral Commission's grant programme, designed to help them become more knowledgeable and skilled in political structures, processes, leadership and representation.

They were presented with their diplomas on Tuesday at a ceremony in Builth Wells that coincided with the All Wales People First Annual Conference.

Armed with their new skills, graduates of the scheme will now be sharing their knowledge and skills with other people with learning disabilities - a group acknowledged to be under-represented when it comes to registering to vote - through peer education in their own local area.

All Wales People First is now planning to roll the programme out across Wales with continued Electoral Commission advisory support.

One of the 11 graduates of the course is Sophie Hinksman, of Saundersfoot.

Sophie said: "At the beginning I didn't know what to expect, but, over the 10 weeks I've become more confident and positive. I enjoyed the shadowing as well - I spent the day with an Assembly Member from Pembrokeshire."

, All Wales People First Project Leader, said: "People with learning disabilities are often marginalised with their lives effectively being dominated by others. Often this done with the best intentions, but most of the major decision making is done without proper involvement from the individual.

"This project enables people with learning disabilities in Wales to overcome this through our Leadership Programme, which provides information, support and training, so that they can become engaged in the democratic process and become leaders in their communities."

The organisation was awarded over £150,000 in grant funding from the Electoral Commission earlier this year to establish the programme in Wales. All Wales People First have also produced a printed toolkit in simple language explaining the voting process and how people can become involved.