EAST Acton residents were encouraged to get on the voters’ roll after a screening of the inspirational film Selma at Old Oak Children’s and Community Centre.

Be Heard, a campaign launched by London and South East housing association Family Mosaic, organised the event last week to encourage people who live in social housing to vote.

Only 55 per cent of social housing tenants and people living in homelessness accommodation projects in England turned out to vote in the 2010 election, compared with 70 per cent of homeowners, according to Family Mosaic.

Chief executive Brendan Sarsfield said: “I believe the right to vote is special.

“As a social housing and care provider, we serve 45,000 people. Many of our customers are people statistically less likely to vote.

“By encouraging our customers to be counted on the electoral role, we believe that their issues are more likely to be represented.”

Residents were inspired after watching Selma, a film about Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

Be Heard campaign coordinator Charlotte Sexton said: “Recent films like Selma and Suffragette remind us that until quite recently many people in Britain and America were not allowed to register to vote.

“Now, every UK citizen over the age of 18 has the right to vote, whether they are a man or woman, black or white.

“But many don’t take up that right. Many remain silent, and don’t take part in the most basic of democratic rights, voting.

“Unfortunately, people living in social housing are much less likely to vote than people living in private rent accommodation or home ownership. The film night at Old Oak is part of our campaign to increase voter registration and raise awareness of the benefits of voting.

“Many people are still unaware that each person is now needs to register to vote individually, rather than by household. With local and London mayoral elections planned for next year, it’s important that everyone is registered and ready to vote. Voting is one of the easiest ways to have your voice heard.”

The event was made possible thanks to funding from and partnering with Homeless Link’s Your Vote Matters initiative.

Organisers at Old Oak Children’s and Community Centre, on Braybrook Street, said they were planning to hold more film nights for Old Oak residents.