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By Heart of England Mencap, Sep 12 2017 02:02PM


THE PHOTOGRAPHIC skills and visions of local people with learning disabilities is getting an international showcase by going on display at Shakespeare’s New Place.


Through The Lens - the culmination of a three-month photography course run by Heart of England Mencap at its day activity group, Pathway – was first exhibited in Stratford back in March.


And now its reaching an even bigger audience - back for a six-week stint in the exhibition space at New Place, Shakespeare’s adult home, thanks to an invitation from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


The exhibition launched on Friday (September 8) – and also includes a promotional display for Heart of England Mencap, which supports people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.


The photos being exhibited have all been captured by Mencap customers as part of a photography course. Armed with tablets funded by Stratford Town Trust, Orbit Group and Stratford District Council, they immersed themselves in the photographic process from top to bottom.


They chose locations and subject matters, snapped the perfect picture on their tablets and then uploaded, edited and printed their creations ready to be showcased.


The course was such a success it has since been repeated across the charity’s day services in Studley, Warwick, Leamington and Malvern. The exhibition at Shakespeare’s New Place will be rotated, to allow photos from each course to be displayed.


Val Rainbow, Heart of England Mencap’s Arts Co-ordinator, said: “Our photography course was based on different themes to help develop a variety of skills and to make the learning process enjoyable and interesting.


“Over the weeks we visited many outdoor locations and covered everything from windows and doors, to leaves and trees, buildings and architecture, textures, close-ups, still life, flowers and portraits.


“Everyone on the course produced really great work. It was a joy to watch them discover newfound skills – and to see their work now on display somewhere as prominent as New Place is just wonderful.”


Heart of England Mencap and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have forged a strong local partnership – with Mencap customers and staff part of the Access Panel set-up to guide the £6 million transformation of Shakespeare’s New Place.


They continue to advise on both physical access, and on making sure everything from the signage to the displays is accessible to people with learning and physical disabilities.
They continue to advise on both physical access, and on making sure everything from the signage to the displays is accessible to people with learning and physical disabilities.

Emma Birks, Volunteer and Community Outreach Officer at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We are extremely proud to work with Heart of England Mencap on this photography exhibition. This project enables the skills of young people and adults with learning disabilities to shine through and it’s fantastic that we are able to provide a platform for them to present their creativity to a wider audience. The community board at New Place is a great space for community groups to showcase their talent and we look forward to working with local groups on new commissions.”


For more information on the community board at Shakespeare’s New Place see https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit/shakespeares-new-place/community-board/


Life through the Lens is on display until October 20th, upstairs in the exhibition centre.


Normal New Place admission prices apply, with entry free for CV37 residents (with proof of address).

By Heart of England Mencap, Sep 15 2016 03:48PM

We can now reveal the second Stratford-upon-Avon based charity voted onto the new official MONOPOLY board for the town.


The charity is Heart of England Mencap based at Clifford Mill, Clifford Chambers, in Stratford-upon-Avon.


HofE Mencap will now get to star on its very own Community Chest square, when the board is released on 13th October.


The charity was voted to appear on the board in a charity poll held earlier this year.


Two charities were offered places. The other charity was named in July: The Shakespeare Hospice.


Heart of England Mencap support local people with learning disabilities, enabling and empowering them to live the life they choose. The charity focuses on an individual’s ability and campaign for an inclusive society, where everyone has the opportunity to achieve personal fulfilment and enjoy life.


Di Yeoman, Marketing and Media Officer for Heart of England Mencap, says:


“We’re incredibly excited about Heart of England Mencap featuring on the new Stratford-upon-Avon MONOPOLY board and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us.


“It’s wonderful to know that so many members of this community value the work we do supporting local people with learning disabilities”.


Natasha Rebuck from Winning Moves UK, producers of the MONOPOLY: Stratford-upon-Avon Edition board under license from Hasbro, says:


"A very big congratulations to the Heart of England Mencap for making it onto the board, along with the Shakespeare Hospice.


“The Stratford-upon-Avon MONOPOLY charity poll was extremely popular and thank you to everyone who nominated.


“The board will be out in October and we will then reveal all the other Stratford-upon-Avon landmarks – which will be around 30 in all."


Meanwhile retailers in the town have been putting in "huge" advanced orders in preparation for the launch of the board which will take place at the RSC on the same morning that the game hits shop shelves.


"There has been an enormous pre-demand for boards by retailers”, adds Ms Rebuck. “Interest in the board for Christmas has been beyond our expectations and at this rate it looks like the only boards which will be left come Christmas Eve will be the ones on Santa’s sleigh. We are having to print a lot more boards than we first anticipated and even those may not be enough!”


The game is set to feature the “great and good” Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer, adds Ms Rebuck. Many of the town’s leading landmarks are vying for the top squares – including Bancroft Gardens, Holy Trinity, the RSC and The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust. “We have been spoilt for choice,” adds Ms Rebuck. “We could have filled the board 30 times over but in the end there are only enough spaces for around 30 landmarks.” All will be revealed when we launch the board. Until then we are pretty much keeping things under our MONOPOLY top hats!”


The board will be available from Thursday 13th October 2016 at all good toy and book stores, including Waterstones, WH Smith and The Works. The board will also be widely available online, including at Amazon.

By Heart of England Mencap, Mar 11 2016 10:22AM

Mencap customers have had a fantastic time over the past 12 weeks experiencing the magic of Bhangra through Indian dance, storytelling, the arts and cooking. This exciting project became a reality thanks to a £7000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.




The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year we fund 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.


Now they are able to showcase their achievements and new skills with a special performance for family and friends.


A FOLK TALE FROM INDIA will be performed by Pathway customers on Friday 18th March from 6.00-7.30pm at Warwick Space, 71 Coten End, Warwick, CV34 4NU.


In addition to the performance there will be a display of artworks created by Mencap customers including masks, costumes, arts and crafts. Refreshments will be provided and there will be an opportunity to sample Indian cuisine!


All are welcome to come to come along and join us on the night!


RSVP: Heart of England Mencap - 01789 298 709


Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said: “We are so grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for awarding this grant. The Bhangra Extravaganza was an idea that came from our Pathway customers and the fact that we made it happen is really fantastic. Pathway is all about providing meaningful activities for local people with learning disabilities. This project has certainly done that, giving our customers the chance to take part in a live performance, or to help behind the scenes. It is also about increasing cultural awareness, promoting social inclusion, something very key to our charity.”



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