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By Heart of England Mencap, Jan 31 2018 01:40PM

THEY set out to put the fun back into fundraising – and four years on they’ve managed to raise a huge £20,000 along the way.


That’s the total which has now benefitted local people with learning disabilities thanks to the Friends of Heart of England Mencap.


The fundraising group began back in 2014, set up and chaired by Karen Rousell from Stratford, whose daughter Lottie has learning disabilities.


She wanted to support a charity close to her heart and put the fun back into fundraising - hosting events which people wanted to attend, raising money along the way.


And it’s a formula which has worked. Four years on and they’ve now raised a huge £20,000 for Heart of England Mencap, which supports people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.


The money has been raised through all sorts of events – from coffee mornings to a card nights or a clothes exchange, as well as sponsored challenges – including a hugely successful firewalk back in 2016 which raised over £10,000 alone.


“Their fundraising has enabled so much and we just can’t thank the Friends enough,” Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said.


“Every penny goes straight to the people with learning disabilities that we support – funding everything from arts and crafts equipment to drama group costumes or iPads. It has enabled our customers to stage their own photo exhibitions and even to publish their own book, talking about their experiences.


“It funds discos, barbecues, day trips – really important social events for our customers with learning disabilities; things which really mean so much. Without the Friends, so much of this would just never happen.”


After four years the group also now has a new chair taking over from Karen – although she will remain an active member.


Anna Kingsley is the new chair. A member of the Friends and an experienced fundraiser herself – having done everything from a sponsored Zumba to a sponsored skydive to raise money for Heart of England Mencap and in memory of her son Theo who passed away in 2008, aged 6.


“Karen has done an incredible job setting up the Friends, getting members on board and organising some amazing events raising a really tremendous amount,” Anna said.


“I’m looking forward to stepping into her shoes – knowing she will be right there with us as we look to raise the next £20,000!


“It’s a great group to be part of – a great way to have fun with new friends knowing that everything you’re doing is really making a difference.”


The first fundraiser of 2018 is coming up on February 16th when the Friends host a Valentine’s Afternoon Tea at the Rosebird Community Hall in Stratford. Everyone is welcome to pop along between 2.30pm and 4.30pm for a cuppa and a cake – and to find out more about the group and getting involved too.


For more information please call 01789 298709 or email Anna56@icloud.com


Photo: With a little help from their Friends – Karen Rousell, Wendy Strophair, Anna Kingsley, Yvonne Ferguson, Rachel Walker and Audrey Rose from the Friends of Heart of England Mencap

By Heart of England Mencap, Jan 24 2018 02:53PM


THE DESIGN talents of a local lady with a learning disability will be seen by people across Warwickshire after she won a competition to create a new quality assurance mark.


Mo Potter attends Heart of England Mencap’s day service in Warwick – Mencap Pathway.


Warwickshire County Council invited Pathway customers – along with care service users across the county – to design a new mark to represent its Peer Review Programme.


The programme is part of Warwickshire County Council’s new Quality Assurance model, and helps us to make sure services are providing high quality care and support by using peer reviewers to visit service providers and talk to customers.


Now, Mo’s mark, featuring a colourful eye design, will appear on all Peer Review documents and correspondence and be used on Participation Mark certificates given to any service provider, like Heart of England Mencap, which agrees to be part of the Peer Review programme.


Jayne Barrow, Commissioning Intelligence Manager for Quality at Warwickshire County Council, visited Pathway at WarwickSpace to tell Mo that she had won the design competition and present her with flowers, chocolates and Hobbycraft vouchers for the group to spend.


“We just thought Mo’s design was excellent,” she said.


“It is so eye-catching and creative and will make a great badge for our Peer Review Programme.”


Helena Wallis, Chief Executive for Heart of England Mencap, added: “We’re all so impressed with the mark Mo has created – a real ‘watching eye’ looking for excellence, something we are committed to providing across our services. Mo clearly has a real talent for art and design – she has also designed our charity Christmas cards in the past.”


Winning design – Mo Potter (front) with (left to right) Olivia Cooper, Quality Assurance Operations Manager at Warwickshire County Council (holding Mo’s design), Jayne Barrow, Commissioning Intelligence Manager for Quality at Warwickshire County Council, Shivorne Poole, Activities Coordinator at Pathway in Warwick and Helena Wallis, Chief Executive of Heart of England Mencap.

By Heart of England Mencap, Jan 17 2018 01:01PM


A STRATFORD charity and a Stratford pub are joining forces to serve up a new social for local people with learning disabilities.


Heart of England Mencap and the Pen and Parchment have launched a new Big Breakfast Club, bringing people together once a month.


It’s a chance for anyone with a learning disability to join a friendly group for a relaxed breakfast, meeting new friends, catching up with existing ones and having some fun over the best meal of the day.


The idea came from Michael Fox – a former Heart of England Mencap support worker who is now working as a chef at the Pen and Parchment.


“Michael made such a difference to so many of our customers and continues to be an amazing support,” Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said.


“We’ve heard rave reviews about the first Big Breakfast and hope to see even more people at the next. The club is open to anyone with a learning disability – you don’t have to be a Mencap customer. It’s very relaxed, please just come along and join us.”


The Big Breakfast Club – which launched in January – will run on the first Thursday of the month, between 10.30am and 12pm, at the Pen and Parchment in Bridgefoot, Stratford. The next breakfast is on February 1st. It’s free to drop-in – with breakfast costing just £5, to include tea and coffee.


Photo: Ready to tuck in – Anna Roberts, Pathway Assistant for Heart of England Mencap, with Heart of England Mencap customers Colin Baker and Glen Merryfield.


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