Revamp for charity helps boost services

Pictured (back) Andy Thompson - Mencap regional marketing officer, (front) left Amy Hickman and right Amy Vaughan.
Pictured (back) Andy Thompson - Mencap regional marketing officer, (front) left Amy Hickman and right Amy Vaughan.
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PEOPLE with a learning disability in West Sussex are set to benefit as national learning disability charity Mencap relaunches its support services.

The changes from Mencap will help to ensure that people can easily pick and choose from their wide range of services, including housing, employment, respite, advocacy, training and leisure. It is estimated that there are 14,894 people in West Sussex with a learning disability.

The relaunch is part of the charity’s Get More From Mencap campaign to raise awareness of the services it offers to support people with a learning disability across the country to live life the way they choose.

One of Mencap’s key goals is to ensure its services are easily understood by the people it supports. This has become even more important as greater numbers of people with a learning disability move on to personal budgets and have more choice about the support and care they receive.

Along with many other people in West Sussex, Mencap’s support services have helped local resident Robert Taylor, of Burgess Hill, to live more independently and learn new skills.

Mencap supported Robert to move out of his parents’ house into shared accommodation and from there he was supported to register for a flat of his own where he has now been able to live independently for the last three years.

Robert has also been supported by Mencap to do courses at college, take part in speak up groups and more recently to apply to be a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics.

Robert said: “I want to gain experience of doing different things and what I’m most looking forward to is the possibility of meeting the gold medallist for cycling, Chris Hoy.”

Robert was supported to fill out the application form, develop his interview technique and learn new computer skills to manage his application. Having already made it through the first stage of the application process and the subsequent interview, Robert must now wait until November to be told whether he’s been successful.

The campaign will also include Mencap’s first ever animated video and radio campaign, which features the voices of people with a learning disability introducing the new service categories. The animated video will be available on Mencap’s website and Facebook page.

Andrew Crammond, Mencap regional director, said: “As a result of research carried out with people with a learning disability, their families and carers and frontline staff, we have relaunched our support services.

“The new categories do a much better job of explaining the wide range of support available and enable people to pick and choose their own support package.

“The Get More from Mencap campaign aims to raise awareness of the services available from Mencap to help people with a learning disability live life the way they choose.

“As well as the animated video, we have launched our first radio campaign where you will hear people talking about their lives.”

As part of the relaunch Mencap had an information stand at the Market Place Shopping Centre in Burgess Hill last Thursday.

Mencap is one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability in the UK.