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By Heart of England Mencap, Jun 23 2017 10:22AM

A TEAM of volunteers from Santander UK have been digging deep to help transform a garden area enjoyed by local people with learning disabilities in Southam.

Staff from Santander spent the day helping Heart of England Mencap on Thursday (June 22) as part of the bank’s Discovery Days scheme, which encourages staff to take a day out of the office to volunteer with a local cause. In 2016, more than 6,000 members of staff took part in 556 projects across the country, including refurbishing local schools, hospitals and helping with community projects.

The team spent the day at Bull Yard in Southam, a residential supported living service run by Heart of England Mencap. The volunteers tidied up the existing garden, replenishing pots and flower beds, repairing a broken shed roof and painting and sanding garden furniture to restore it.

Helena Wallis, Heart of England Mencap’s Chief Executive, said: “Our gardens are important to us; having that outdoor space for our customers to enjoy and relax in, or even get involved in planting and nurturing. But with all that space comes a lot of maintenance – and we are so grateful to the team at Santander for choosing to spend the day volunteering at our charity.”

Rob Clark, Divisional Transactional Banking Director at Santander, said: “We chose to take on a third project with Heart of England Mencap to continue to support the work it does to help those with learning disabilities. It is important to continue to give something back to a charity that does so much to help the local community. We know from the projects already completed the work we do makes a difference to those who use the centre, making it a more pleasurable place for them to relax and enjoy.”

Heart of England Mencap supports individuals with learning disabilities, working across Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Services range from day activities to residential care, with supported living, short breaks, respite and outreach also a key part of the charity’s work.

For more information call 01789 298709 or go online at www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk

Photo: Digging in – volunteers from Santander bank with Heart of England Mencap customers and staff at Bullyard

By Heart of England Mencap, Jun 21 2017 03:09PM

AS THE sun shone down at the weekend – so did the spotlight – on a local charity supporting people with learning disabilities.

Heart of England Mencap was the nominated charity for this year’s annual Rosconn Group Stratford Boat Club Regatta.

The event took place on Saturday (June 17th), organised by Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club and attracting hundreds of competitors and spectators to the banks of the River Avon.

As the nominated charity, kindly supported once again by Rosconn Group, Heart of England Mencap set up stall next to the boat club, raising funds and awareness.

Games included hook-a-duck and a tombola, all helping to raise £135 on the day.

“We had great fun in the beautiful sunshine selling bubbles and toys and running our tombola and games to raise money,” Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said.

“But actually, what was really important was the opportunity the Regatta gave us to raise our profile at such a big, local event.

“Some of our customers are already benefiting from our close links with the Boat Club having taken part in adaptive rowing sessions. Many more came along on the day to watch the races and help out – and that kind of involvement in their local community is really important, helping to break down barriers and the stigma that can still be associated with learning disabilities. We owe a huge thanks to the Boat Club and to Rosconn Group for giving us such a wonderful opportunity.”

Photo: Raising funds and awareness – Heart of England Mencap’s (left to right) Karen Rousell, Becky Davies, Wendy Strophair, Di Yeoman, Audrey Rose and Cath Errington.

By Heart of England Mencap, Jun 19 2017 03:33PM

FROM bush craft to photography, local people with learning disabilities are being invited to join a summer of fun in Malvern.

Heart of England Mencap, which runs its day service ‘Pathway’ in the town, has three weeks of fully accessible community activities planned.

Open to anyone with a learning disability and not just existing Mencap customers, the cost is just £3 per session, or £5 for a full day, with carers going free.

It all starts on Tuesday June 27th with a ‘Welcome to Malvern Pathway’ tea and chat. The session runs between 10am and 12pm at the 2nd Malvern Scout HQ in Spring Lane. Open to everyone, it’s a chance to meet the team, find out about all the activities on offer, and register to take part.

Those activities then get started, running on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the first week (June 27th, 28th and 29th), the second week (July 4th, 5th and 6th) and the third and final week (July 12th, 13th, 14th).

People are welcome to join for as much or as little as they like, from one session to a full week or more, all they need to bring is a packed lunch.

Activities include: outdoor forest and bush craft sessions, photography workshops, an accessible book club, a healthy breakfast club, karaoke and making a promotional video.

And to round it all off on Saturday July 15th there will be a disco, complete with karaoke and a buffet, again at just £3 per person with carers going free.

“This is a great chance for local people with learning disabilities to really enjoy learning some new skills, from video or photo editing to cooking, performing, or getting out and trying their hand at bush craft,” Service Manager Ben Davies said.

“It’s a great way to form new friendships as well, and to see what Mencap Pathway has to offer all year round here in Malvern.”

Heart of England Mencap brought Mencap Pathway to Malvern at the end of last year, based at the improved and refurbished 2nd Malvern Scout HQ.

Pathway now runs five days a week, welcoming 14 customers already.

“Pathway is all about focusing on abilities and not disabilities, providing meaningful leisure and learning activities like cooking, crafting, woodwork, music, drama, gardening, even tai chi,” Ben added.

“All of this builds confidence, skills and friendships and that’s hugely important to our charity. What’s just as important is enabling activities in the community for our customers too, and we are still looking for volunteers who can help support us in that; assisting on trips outs and helping to build our on-site Pathway activities too, all skills and ideas are welcome.”

For more information on Mencap Pathway and the summer activities, please call 01684 577699, 07929 030483, or go to www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk

Anyone unable to attend the welcome tea and chat on June 27th is still able to register for the activity programme by contacting Ben Davies using the details above.

Photo: Toasting marshmallows - Heart of England Mencap’s customers and staff enjoy a bush craft session.


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