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By Heart of England Mencap, May 17 2017 10:46AM

CYCLISTS are being called on to get in gear and sign-up for a brand new charity bike ride happening next month – to enable local people with learning disabilities to enjoy the thrill of riding too.


The Ride for Bikes 60km Hilly Challenge – in support of Heart of England Mencap – is happening on Sunday June 25th, pedalling off at 9am.


Starting and finishing at Meon Vale Leisure Centre, it will see cyclists taking on a 60km route through Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, including the challenging climbs of the Cotswold hills.


The event is fundraising for Heart of England Mencap – a local charity supporting more than 200 people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.


All of the money raised will support the charity’s cycling project; funding adapted bikes to allow Mencap’s customers to enjoy riding too.


Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said: “This is the first time we’ve organised a big bike ride and really want to make it a big success, raising money to buy adapted bikes for our customers. But we really need more cyclists to sign-up for the challenge to ensure the event is viable.

“Cycling is something our customers get a huge amount of joy out of – but adapted bikes are very expensive and we are only a small charity.


“We are starting to build a small fleet of bikes thanks to previous fundraising, grants and donations –but we still need so much more. Hand cycles for example enable people in wheelchairs but with strength in their arms to experience to joy of cycling. Side by side bikes allow workers to ride with a customer, meaning that even those who don’t have much physical strength can still benefit from the experience. We want to buy regular bikes as well, so that friends and family can join our customers for a fun day of cycling.”


The 60km Hilly Challenge is being generously sponsored by Rosconn Group.


Daniel O’Donnell, Managing Director for The Rosconn Group, said: “We are privileged to be in a position to support local communities and improve local lives and this year we are again delighted to sponsor Heart of England Mencap in their quest to make a difference to the lives of local people with a learning disability.”

Registration for Rides for Bikes costs £30 per cyclist, to include food and refreshments.

Those keen to get involved – but lacking the legs to take on the full 60km challenge – can still be part of the event too, with a fun, indoor static ride taking place on the day at Meon Vale.


For more information and to register please go to www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk


Photo: Gearing up - Daniel O’Donnell, Managing Director for The Rosconn Group, with Heart of England Mencap customers (left to right) Sandra, Russell, Julie, Alan, Royston and Brian.

By Heart of England Mencap, May 15 2017 09:00AM


First of its kind in local area – to be used by adults and children with physical and learning disabilities, as well as local hospices and those living with dementia


THE FIRST sensory centre of its kind in south Warwickshire has officially opened in Leamington.

‘Sensory Place’ can be found at the Fordsfield Centre in Bury Road, a complex needs day service run by Heart of England Mencap.


It will be used to benefit Heart of England Mencap customers – but also as a facility for the wider community too. The centre is open to all adults and children with any physical or learning disability, as well local hospice patients, and local people living with dementia.


It is the first of its kind in south Warwickshire, meaning customers no longer face lengthy journeys to visit a sensory centre.


One of those already benefitting is Fred, a young man with severe Autism who is supported by Heart of England Mencap, as Media and Marketing Office Di Yeoman explains:


“Gary, an experienced support worker who has been teamed with Fred, a customer with severe autism, for over 4 years, is now able to take advantage of Sensory Place. Previously they were travelling across to Worcester, which was expensive and time consuming, but now he enjoys listening to music on the waterbed, whilst being calmed by looking at the bubble tubes. That time makes a huge difference and has a lasting impact."

Sensory Place has been funded by a £67,000 grant from Warwickshire County Council.
Sensory Place has been funded by a £67,000 grant from Warwickshire County Council.

Helena Wallis, Chief Executive for Heart if England Mencap, said: “We were thrilled to receive a really substantial grant from Warwickshire Council Council to create this much-needed sensory space for people in the county, and even beyond.


“Sensory Place will benefit our customers and their parents and carers, by providing a safe and calm environment to enjoy quality time together. It’s a flexible, stimulating atmosphere which builds confidence and encourages communication and choice making. Its objective is to remove the obstacles present in day to day life which limit access to experiences, and enjoyment of life for our customers.


“Importantly, this facility is also available to other members of the community including children with learning disabilities, older people with dementia and Alzheimer's and local hospices.”


Chris White, the Conservative Party’s parliamentary candidate for Warwick and Leamington, perfomed the official opening of Sensory Place on Friday May 12th, when he was given a tour of the new facility and took time to chat to Mencap customers and their families and carers.


For more information on Sensory Place, please call 01789 298709 or go to www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk




By Heart of England Mencap, May 4 2017 09:00AM


Rosconn Group Stratford Boat Club Regatta to support Heart of England Mencap


HUNDREDS of spectators are expected to gather by the banks of the river next month, to watch competitors from far and wide compete in the annual Rosconn Group Stratford Boat Club Regatta.

The event takes place on Saturday June 17th and is organised by Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club.


The regatta has been taking place in Stratford since 1879. As well as Stratford’s own crews, the event draws competitors, able-bodied and adaptive, and their supporters from clubs such as Bewdley Rowing Club, Cardiff & Vale Schools Rowing Association, Evesham Rowing Club, Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester, Stowe Sculling Club, Warwick Boat Club, Becket School Rowing Club, Cotswold Rowing Club, Holloway Scullers, Leicester Rowing Club, Merton College, Monkton Combe School, Monmouth Comprehensive School and Northwich Rowing Club.


Racing is on the town stretch of the river from Holy Trinity Church to the Club grounds by The Tramway Bridge. As well as the rowing contingent, the regatta attracts a lot of interest from visitors to the town who come down to the Bancroft Gardens and the Recreation Ground to enjoy the racing, barbecue and the beer and tea tent in the Club grounds, which are open to all.


Racing starts around 8.30am and finishes around 6.30pm with 162 entries last year.


Paul Hazelwood, Stratford Boat Club’s Treasurer, says: “The regatta and also the Fun Regatta in July are very weather dependent events and without our sponsor Rosconn Group, we couldn’t risk holding the regatta. We are also amazingly lucky to have help from other river organisations such as the Avon Navigation Trust, the Sea Cadets, Avon Boating, the Environment Agency, Bancroft Cruisers, Canal & River Tours, the Countess of Evesham, and also the co-operation of those who make their living on the river.”


Heart of England Mencap – supporting local people with learning disabilities – has been chosen as this year’s nominated charity.


The charity already benefits from close links with Stratford Boat Club; Mencap customers enjoying rowing sessions in adapted boats, as Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, explains:


“It’s a real privilege to be part of this year’s regatta and we owe a big thanks to Stratford Boat Club and to Rosconn Group too, both brilliant supporters of our charity.


“Getting out on the water and trying their hand at rowing is something our customers have gained a huge amount of pleasure out of.”


“Anyone can get involved in rowing, regardless of physical disability, sensory or learning impairment,” says Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive coach.


“Adaptive rowing means that equipment and training can be modified to meet the rower’s needs and abilities as closely as possible. We will listen and learn to help the participant to get the most out of the sport. There are many benefits to being involved in rowing; the sense of freedom, making life-long friends, and learning new skills whilst keeping fit and healthy. All this can be done on the water or indoors, just for fun or to compete in races.”


A group of Heart of England Mencap customers will be at the regatta on the day and it is hoped that there may be an opportunity for them to participate in a row-past


There will be plenty of fundraising fun and games riverside as well, from hook-a-duck to a raffle and tombola, all organised on Heart of England Mencap’s stand at the event.


Paul Stanton, President of Stratford Boat Club, says: “Stratford upon Avon Boat Club looks forward to welcoming competing crews, VIPs and guests and especially Stratford and Warwickshire residents and visitors to the town down to watch and enjoy what is going to be an action-packed day. Having Heart of England Mencap as the regatta’s nominated charity emphasises the importance that Rosconn Group and Stratford Boat Club attaches to being a working part of the local community.”


Daniel O’Donnell, Managing Director of Rosconn Group, says: “We are delighted that Heart of England Mencap has been chosen as the designated charity for this year’s regatta. We are proud to sponsor the event, it’s such an important local sporting occasion and it’s wonderful to support such a friendly club that encourages people of all abilities to take up rowing as a sport or just for fun.”


Other Gold Sponsors for the regatta include Burgis & Bullock, Bancroft Cruisers, The Rigby Foundation, Stratford Self Store, GroupComms, Macdonald Alveston Manor, Crowne Plaza Stratford, Daniel Buxton Photography & Digital Media Ltd and HL Barnes & Sons as a Bronze Sponsor. If you would like to become a sponsor, please contact christopherbest03@gmail.com


For more information, go to www.stratford-rowing.co.uk/regatta-2017


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