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Game of Thrones Star Kit Harington Backs MenCap Disability Campaign

Long Live the King in the North ?


    Jon Snow, the King in the North, the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, The White Wolf, The Prince That Was Promised – and a public campaigner. We reckon Kit Harington needs a few more titles under his belt, that name is not nearly long enough…

    Game of Thrones star, Kit Harington has wowed fans across the world with his portrayal of the illegitimate child, Jon Snow (you know, the one who predicted the weather and told us that winter was coming). And now, Harington himself is backing a campaign close to his heart.

    Kit Harington records video for MenCap campaign

    As an ambassador of the learning disability charity, MenCap, Kit Harington is currently backing a bill to change the government’s stance on the payment of overnight carers who provide essential care to those who need it. Since 1999, care homes and disability charities have worked under the ruling that the time spent asleep during an overnight shift was not deemed as work time for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage (NMW). However, in October last year, two employment tribunals found that sleep time should be classed as work time, and that thousands of workers had been underpaid. This has now left these charities with a £400 million back payment.

    However, both MenCap and Harington believe that these charities cannot afford such a debt, will bring many to bankruptcy and cause instability to an ‘indispensable service.’ Harrington, whose own cousin has autism and Down’s Syndrome, is campaigning with the Royal Mencap Society to persuade the government to foot the hefty bill.

    In a video created for the campaign, Harington has spoken about the importance of overnight care.

    Many of us will be unaware of a vital part of the learning disability sector that provides essential overnight care for the most vulnerable people in our society – 178,000 people with the most serious learning disabilities depend on it. They are called sleep-in carers and they do a fantastic job.

    He continues:

    Because of a government decision to change its guidance on sleep-in payments the learning disability sector is now faced with a back-pay bill of £400 million which is being enforced…Please support the Royal Mencap Society’s campaign by signing our petition in spreading awareness online using the hashtag #StopSleepInCrisis help us to continue to protect the people who need it most.

    As Harington delves even further into the video, he begins to speak of the the help his cousin Laurent has received from MenCap throughout the whole of his life.

    The special relationship I have had with my cousin Laurent, throughout my life, has given me a privileged understanding of learning disability and the critical role that organisations like Mencap play in providing the care that makes an independent life possible.

    You can watch the video on the Channel 4 News site here and sign the petition here.

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