Southend Mencap is a registered charity, charity number 1078686, and was formed in October 1955. The charity’s main aim is to serve the interests and needs of children and adults with learning disabilities, as well as those of their parents and carers, in the south east of Essex.
An independent society
Southend Mencap is able to use the name Mencap by being affiliated to national Mencap but that is where the link to them ends. We are a completely independent society/organisation, are self governed and self financed. We need to seek our own funding and arrange all services and activities for the learning disabled ourselves. There is no referral system to Mencap and they do not provide us or any of the other local Mencap society’s with any income or funding. Any funding raised by Mencap never gets passed down to the local societys.
The society has a board of trustees, who meet once a month to discuss with the general manager what has been happening both within and outside the society. All the trustees are volunteers and, in total, the society has in excess of 80 volunteers across all our activities and they provide in excess of 100 hours support per week. There are also paid staff within the society, three of whom are full time, seven part time and over thirty sessional staff. The sessional staff are those who support the various clubs and groups each week. As with the majority of charities, we have several shops that sell donated clothes, books and other goods to help raise some of the funds we need to keep the society going. At present we have three charity shops, one in Southend, one in Leigh and one in Shoebury. There is also our Novel Coffee Shop that sells coffees, teas, cold drinks, cakes and a selection of light meals. It also is where you can buy second hand books and DVDs.
Service provision for people with learning disabilities
There are numerous projects, clubs and groups that are currently running and these offer a wide variety to both children and adults with learning disabilities. Our current service provision consists of:
- Advocacy Service – a full time advocate is available to help support the needs of the learning disabled to ensure their voice is heard when dealing with everyday issues.
- Family Support Worker – a part time family support worker who provides information and support to the families of the learning disabled e.g. accessing services, benefits information.
- Transitional Advocate – a part time advocate delivering the ‘Your Choice’ workshops to children with learning disabilities in several of the local special needs schools.
- Music Man – daily music provision for people with learning disabilities as well as providing teaching resource and training to other organisations looking to set up their own music service.
- Showstoppers – daily drama and theatre performance provision for adults with learning disabilities.
- SMASH – a weekly sports club for adults with learning disabilities.
- TopCats Club – a weekly social activities club on Canvey Island for adults with learning disabilities.
- Music School – separate weekly music schools for children and adults with learning disabilities.
- M.O.D.S – a weekly drama group for adults with learning disabilities.
- Family Play & Respite – a weekly sports and social club for children with learning disabilities aged between 5 and 16 years, plus places for any of their non disabled siblings too.
- 16+ Club – a weekly social club for young people with learning disabilities aged 16 to 25.
- Friendship Group – a weekly social drop-in club for adults with learning disabilities.
- Compatibles – friendship/relationship opportunities service for adults with learning disabilities.
- TFC Mencap – in partnership with Trinity Family Centre, twice weekly morning activity sessions for adults with learning disabilities.
- Yoga – chair yoga sessions provided on Friday mornings as well as mat based sessions on Wednesday evenings.
In addition to the list of projects and activities, we also run several other events across a calendar year in an attempt to provide as much variety as possible for people with learning disabilities. These are:
- Valentine’s Disco – annual disco for adults with learning disabilities.
- Children’s Party – annual party for children with learning disabilities.
- Art Competition – annual art competition for children and adults with learning disabilities.
- Achievers Awards – annual event to celebrate the achievements of the learning disabled, who are nominated by school teachers, social workers, support workers etc.
- Christmas Concert – annual two night concert by the music school with a Christmas theme.
- Drama Group Show – two night annual performance by the drama group that they spend the whole year preparing for.
- Volunteer’s Event – annual event to thank all our volunteers for the support they provide to the society.
- Southend Mencap Magazine – quarterly magazine highlighting recent events and general news and information to all our members.