Supporting people with learning disabilities, the UK charity Mencap is a leading voice. Everything the charity does is aimed at valuing and supporting those who have a learning disability, their family and carers.
The charity’s mission is to create a world where all people are valued equally. As there are an estimated 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK, this equates to a large section of the population and Mencap aims to ensure their views are listened to and taken into account.
The charity was launched in 1946 by mum, Judy Fryd, whose child had a learning disability. She promoted her new organisation by writing to a magazine called Nursery World and she asked other parents in a similar situation to contact her.
By 1955, the charity was able to launch its first major project, the Orchard Dene short-stay residential home. Three years later, Mencap launched an innovative project called the Brooklands Experiment, which compared the progress of two groups of children who had a learning disability.
The first group lived in hospital, while the second lived in a family environment and enjoyed educational activities similar to those used in nurseries. The children were monitored for two years and the results were published.
The study showed that the youngsters living in a home-like environment showed significant improvements in verbal, emotional and social skills, compared with their counterparts who were living in hospital. The results of the research were published globally.
By the 1980s, Mencap was able to influence changes to the law and the charity’s campaigning saw the Further and Higher Education Act include provisions for people with a learning disability for the first time. In 1985, the charity’s services for people with multiple and profound learning disabilities were launched.
In 2006, Mencap celebrated its diamond anniversary as the UK’s leading charity for people with a learning disability. In 2008, the charity rebranded to become a more dynamic, modern organisation in order to meet people’s needs in the 21st century.
Thanks to Mencap’s campaigning, the International Paralympic Committee agreed to permit athletes with a learning disability to enter the Paralympic Games in 2009.
Over the years, the charity has never faltered from its goal of ensuring people with a learning disability are valued equally. Supporting families in their fight for a brighter future through their network of more than 400 local groups across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the charity strives to make a positive difference.
One of Mencap’s main objectives is to help people through what can be a bewildering spectrum of mental disabilities. The charity aims to help people determine what disability they are dealing with. Once they understand the symptoms associated with each condition, the charity will assist individuals and their families to improve their quality of life.
A major goal is to make significant improvements to people’s attitudes towards those who have a learning disability. Mencap says people with a learning disability need to feel better connected to the local community to develop stronger relationships.
The key to this is increasing healthcare professionals’ understanding and skills, in order to improve health outcomes. One aspect of this is ensuring that children aged under five and their family receive the appropriate early support they need.
How to help Mencap
Anyone who wishes to support Mencap’s valuable work can do so in a number of ways. People can become volunteers, donating as much or as little of their time as they can manage.
This can include everything from helping out once a year at special events, such as marathons, to making a weekly commitment to one of Mencap’s services or projects to directly help change a person’s life.
Another way to help is by campaigning with Mencap to help change society. There are many current campaigns, including improving healthcare for people with a learning disability and also stopping the government from making changes to sleep-in payments, which will take away crucial support for thousands of disabled people.
If you can’t donate your time to Mencap, you can help by donating money either as a one-off, or each month, including donations in memory of a loved one. The charity also runs the Mencap fundraising lottery, with a weekly top prize of £500. People can also arrange to leave money in their will to Mencap.
The charity has many high street charity shops, where you can work as a volunteer or you can donate clothing and other items. Even buying goods at Mencap’s charity shops can help their work and you can choose from many high quality items.
Kinderkey support people with a variety of different disabilities. We have an established reputation for quality, innovative products and excellent customer care.
We design, manufacture and supply a range of products, providing safe sleeping solutions for adults and children with special needs. Please contact us for further information.