A series of workshops included sessions on making Mencap more inclusive and ways to build on the success of the Paralympics. There were also sessions focused on partnership working and Mencap’s Young Ambassadors.
Workshops and sessions:
- Young Ambassadors and Me
- Building on the Paralympics
- Partnership and Me
- The movement and Me
- Gateway clubs and Me
- Inclusion and Me
Young Ambassadors are part of Mencap’s Inspire Me project for young people. The ambassadors participate in Mencap’s work, engage with public decision-making and inspire other people with a learning disability, while helping to develop confidence and communication skills.
During the workshop, Young Ambassadors shared their personal experiences of the role. Many delegates hadn’t heard of the scheme before. “People were largely very positive about the use of Young Ambassadors throughout Mencap,” says Gilbert Malin, Inspire Me’s project manager. “One of the groups in the workshop was an amateur dramatics society for people with a learning disability. They are now very excited by the prospect of some of their young people becoming Young Ambassadors.”
Offer a volunteering opportunity:
If you can offer an opportunity for a Young Ambassador to volunteer with you, or would like to know more, please contact Samantha Cosgrove (North of England) on 07852 457 862, or Fenella Stafford (South of England) on 07908 609 665.
- Play ‘Who wants to be a Young Ambassador’ to find out more…
This workshop gave people a chance to share their thoughts and talk about their experiences of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Attendees led discussion groups about the successes they saw within their communities. They also discussed ideas on how to use the Paralympics as a catalyst to encourage and inspire people with a learning disability to take up and excel in sport and physical activity.
- Read more and discuss your group’s experiences
- Read about Mencap Sport or contact Ian Carpenter, national sport manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
At this workshop, groups heard from Herefordshire Mencap about how the group has developed plans to work more closely with Mencap. Coventry Mencap also led discussions around the challenges it faced when looking at whether to sign a partnership agreement. This led to a discussion around how Mencap can develop what it means to be in partnership with groups, and how it can address some of the issues groups face.
“It was great to hear the suggestions from groups as to how the Mencap partnership can develop and what Mencap can do to make sure the partnership is as effective as possible,” says Phil Hetherington, Mencap’s participation manager.
If you have ideas about how the Mencap partnership can be developed, please get in touch with your regional partnership officer who will be happy to discuss these with you
How to engage with the wider public is a challenge Mencap must address head on. And this workshop challenged attendees to consider how Mencap can reach out and involve many more people in its work.
All ideas are welcome as Mencap looks to shape its engagement strategy. And it will need the support of groups, members and all Mencap supporters, in order to have much greater influence on society.
Mencap will be communicating more on its engagement strategy in the coming months
Groups learned more about the Gateway Active project, the newly updated Gateway Award, and the Gateway Beacon project – which aims to help Gateway and leisure clubs work together to share best practice and improve opportunities for people with a learning disability.
Mencap asked groups for feedback about what makes a good Gateway club. Responses included transport and good premises, as well as getting new members and volunteers, and funding for the club. Club members were also represented in the workshop and they talked about how they value the opportunity to meet new people, expand their horizons, take part in a variety of activities and help with the running of the club.
The workshop then considered how Mencap might work together with Gateway clubs and other groups more in future. “Much of the discussion focused on linking up locally with other clubs and different services, sharing good practice, supporting each other with some of the challenges and creating positive networks,” says Rachel Ashcroft, Mencap’s Gateway projects manager. “Gateway Beacon offers many of these opportunities, by supporting clubs to link together, share what they do, develop their club and receive help and advice.”
- Read more about getting involved with any of the Gateway projects
- Contact your regional partnership officer, or email the positive activities coordinator at email@example.com
Mencap’s Inclusion team ran two workshops about Mencap’s inclusion plan.
Mencap is looking at all the areas where people with a learning disability can be included in Mencap, and wants to learn from other groups and organisations. Mencap also wants to work with more people with a learning disability.
At the workshop, Mencap asked groups for any ideas they had about inclusion and what Mencap can do more of to include people with a learning disability in its work.
Once Mencap has finished its research on inclusion, it will then publish a report, next year, on how people with a learning disability can be more included. Mencap will share its findings.
To find out more, contact inclusion project manager Wayne Walker on 020 7696 6926 or firstname.lastname@example.org