Why does inclusion matter?

People with a learning disability need to have their voices heard. At Mencap we make sure all our work is guided by them.

Inclusion

Successful campaigns like Hear My Voice show that the personal experiences of people with a learning disability are influencing all parts of Mencap’s work. We have inclusion groups across England, and an advisory forum, which reports to our trustees.

We listen to and value the contributions our groups make. If you have a learning disability and would like to get involved in our work, read on to find out more!

 

Our vision statement makes it clear that we want people with a learning disability to be listened to and included in all aspects of life. Mencap campaigns to make sure this happens , so having the voices of people with a learning disability included in everything we do is essential. 

Find out more!

If you would you like to get involved or find out more, we’d love to hear from you.

Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do at Mencap, drop an email to Inclusion@mencap.org.uk if you have any questions!

Get in touch

Include Me and Our Voices groups

Different topics are discussed at each meeting, and there are sometimes visitors from outside of Mencap, such as the BBC or RSPCA for example. We aim to give first-hand experience of what people with a learning disability need and want to happen. Our work is made much stronger by listening to the people we support first.

About the Learning Disability Advisory Forum (LDAF)

We have inclusion groups across England, and an advisory forum, which reports to our trustees. We listen to and value the contributions our groups make.

If you have a learning disability and would like to get involved in our work, read on to find out more!

Meet the groups

The two original Inclusion Groups started in 2014 meet often to make sure the views and insights people with a learning disability guide our work at Mencap. The two groups are:

  • Include Me (based in London)
  • Our Voices (based in Rotherham)

Membership of the two groups is entirely from people with a learning disability and/or autism, with support provided from Mencap staff.

The Learning Disability Advisory Forum (LDAF) advises on important issues and reports to our trustees.

Meet the members of the Our Voices group

Vicky Barker

Vicky BarkerI’m Vicky and I’m quite new to the inclusion group. I’ve only been to a few meetings but they’ve been great. I have found it interesting to learn about plans for the new Health campaign. In my spare time I like to take photographs, I’m the family photographer! I also enjoy cooking and my favourite thing to make is spaghetti Bolognese.

 

 

Abby Fewkes

Abby FewkesMy name is Abby and I work at the Rotherham office as an admin assistant. I’ve worked for Mencap for quite a few years. I’ve been involved with the Our Voices group since it was first set up. I’ve made lots of new friends and my confidence has grown. In my spare time I like to go shopping, walk my dog and go on cruise holidays with my family.

 

 

Cecelia Lopez

Cecelia LopezMy name is Cecelia and I live in Rotherham. I’ve been involved with the Our Voices group since the beginning. I also used to do some volunteering at a charity shop but it closed so I’m looking for a new voluntary job. During the week I go to a day service where I get to meet with my friends, chat to people and I like cooking. I really enjoy the inclusion group meetings, especially when we have guests.

 

Sam Parsons

Sam ParsonsMy name is Sam and I live in Halifax. I attend the Our Voices Inclusion Group in Rotherham, and also the national group that meets in London. I work part time as an office assistant for Mencap in Rochdale where I produce a monthly newsletter for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Mencap services. I enjoy going to watch the rugby in Halifax, where I volunteer as a score boarder. I also meet my friends twice a week at my local social club, we play bingo and sometimes I win!

 

Gillian Radford

Gillian RadfordI’m Gillian and I’m from Rotherham. I’ve been a member of the Our Voices group for two years. It’s brilliant and gives me the chance to share my ideas with a range of people who come to talk to us about things that will make life better for people with a learning disability. I also volunteer at the British Heart Foundation. In my spare time I like watching Coronation Street and I’m a dab hand at playing games on my tablet!

 

Paul Savage

Paul SavageI’m Paul, I live in Sheffield and I’ve been an Inclusion Group member for the last 2 years, but I’ve been involved with Mencap for a lot longer. The Our Voices group gives me the chance to have my say about issues that are important to people with a learning disability, and I get to help shape some of the things that Mencap does. I’m really in to watching soap operas on TV and would like to see lots more people with disabilities on the TV and in the media.

 

Paul Scott

Paul ScottI’m Paul and I live in Sheffield. I’m quite new to the Our Voices group but am really getting a lot out of the meetings and have made some new friends. Because I’m a member of the Inclusion Group I’ve just been involved with an interview panel to recruit some new members of staff for Mencap. I go to several social clubs and like spending time with my family, especially when my mum and nan make me a nice Sunday lunch! I’m a football fan and support Manchester United and England.

Meet the members of the Include Me group

Angela Buggy

AngelaI live in Wimbledon and I joined the group because it is a great opportunity. I like to know about Mencap’s campaigns so I can tell people about them, and I wanted to meet new people. I was asked to go to a tea party at Buckingham Palace and met the Charles and Camilla. I’m also part of the London social group and we plan social activities every month. I like cooking at home and helping children at the play group.

Amy Clarke

AmyI live in North London and I’ve worked for Mencap for nearly 21 years. I joined the group because I wanted to try something different and meet different people. It’s been a privilege and has given me more confidence. I have also been part of a safe surfing web project for people with a learning disability in Poland, Spain and Italy as part of Inclusion Europe. I like the theatre and cinema and I have lots of followers on Twitter (I've even had replies from Bonnie Langford!)

Bernie Conway

BernieI live in London and I work in Mencap people team. I joined the group because I’m really keen on involving people with a learning disability and I like meeting people from different parts of Mencap. I like it when we went out in the park and interviewed the public on what they think about learning disabilities. I’m part of a Wednesday running group at Mencap and we’re doing the 5km Pall Mall run. I like to go out and spend time with my family and friends.

Shelly Harris

ShelleyI live in Leighton Buzzard. I’ve worked at Mencap as an assistant trainer for 15 years and an office assistant for 3 years. I joined the group because I wanted to gain some confidence, and now I can do things like going on the train. I’m also co-chair of the learning disability partnership board in Bedfordshire. I like cooking, swimming and going out for meals.

Ciara Lawrence

CiaraI live in Surrey, and I’ve worked for Mencap for 16 years. I joined the group because I wanted to see Mencap be really honest and say we need to be better at including people. I’m really proud of how we helped the BBC think about how they portray a person with a learning disability. I’m also a trustee of charity and a theatre group. I love going to West End musicals and spending time with my family.  

Jack Welch

I live in Weymouth, Dorset. As well as being part of the Include Me group, I am a very active in a number of other organisations such as Ambitious About Autism, the National Children's Bureau and NHS England where I am an advisor for their Learning Disability and/or Autism Engagement Team. In my spare time I love reading, blogging and visiting new places at home and abroad. 

Meet the members of the Learning Disability Advisory Forum (LDAF)

Sam Jefferies

SamI live on the Isle of Wight. I joined the forum when it began in November 2015. I wanted to get involved in what Mencap was doing, like ‘hear My Voice’, and try to make a difference. I enjoy working with people from different parts of the UK, working as a team and helping each other out with our different skills. I have been involved in the Isle of Wight Mencap and other voluntary community organisations. I enjoy socialising with friends, going to music festivals, and I recently passed my driving test and bought a car.

Dave Taylor

DaveI live on the Wirral and joined the forum because I wanted to work together as a group to benefit people with a learning disability. I’ve been a member of Wirral Mencap for six years. I work at a donkey sanctuary as a farmhand assistant. In my spare time I help out with American wrestling shows, and I’m the Mencap national table tennis champion at the moment.

Karen Gray

KarenI live in North Lincolnshire and joined the forum to get involved in decision making. I enjoy meeting with people and getting to know them. I also co-chair the Learning Disability Partnership Board, and have been a representative at Changing Places meetings in Lincolnshire. I am also part of a Rotary group that meets together to discuss subjects and raise money for local charities. I work at Sainsburys and I like to do all sorts in my spare time

John Phillips

JohnI was a Mencap trustee from 2008 to 2017 and have been a volunteer since 1986, when I set up a social and leisure club on the Isle of Wight called ‘John's Club’. I have fostered children with challenging behaviour since 1993 in both short and long term placements. I was also awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to disabled people.

Barbara Norris

BarbaraI live in Belfast, and joined the forum when it began in November 2015. I wanted to share my opinions and stories to help Mencap provide better services for a wide range of people with mixed abilities. I enjoy mixing with other people and listening to what they have to say. I’ve been involved with the Downs Syndrome Association, several other Mencap groups, and a Big Lottery committee looking at grant applications for local charities and projects. I have jobs at IKEA, Starbucks and Mencap, and in my spare time I enjoy drama, choir, running, rugby and Slimming World.

Jack Welch

I live in Weymouth, Dorset. As well as being part of the Include Me group, I am a very active in a number of other organisations such as Ambitious About Autism, the National Children's Bureau and NHS England where I am an advisor for their Learning Disability and/or Autism Engagement Team. In my spare time I love reading, blogging and visiting new places at home and abroad. 

Andrew Wilson

Andrew

I live in Belfast and became a Mencap trustee in October 2015. I bring my expertise of a person with a learning disability, so I have a very good insight into what happens in everyday life. The best thing about being a trustee is being in the thick of all of it. I like to be involved. I also volunteer with the Leonard Cheshire Foundation and I am a member of my local council ‘Disability Advisory’ group and ‘Access and Inclusion’ group. 

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