It all began in 1946...
- In 1946 Judy Fryd, a mother of a child with a learning disability A learning disability is to do with the way someone's brain works. It makes it harder for someone to learn, understand or do things. , formed 'The National Association of Parents of Backward Children' - which later became Mencap.
- She wrote to 'Nursery World' magazine inviting other parents to contact her. Many wrote back to Judy expressing their anger and sorrow at the lack of services for their children.
- In 1955 the association changed its name to 'The National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children' and opened its first project, the Orchard Dene short-stay residential home.
- In 1958, the National Society launched a ground-breaking project called the Brooklands Experiment. This compared the progress of children with a learning disability who lived in hospital with a group of children who were moved to a small family environment and cared for using educational activities modelled on those in 'ordinary' nurseries. After two years, the children in the home-like environment showed marked improvements in social, emotional and verbal skills. The success of the experiment was published around the world.
The life of Judy Fryd
In 1946 Judy Fryd, a mother of a child with a learning disability, wrote a letter to Nursery World to highlight the unfairness of her daughter being sent away from a mainstream school.
Little did she know she would start a movement.
This is her story.
- In 1963 Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened the National Society's new hostel and training workshop in Slough, Buckinghamshire - the first training centre of its kind for adults with a learning disability.
- In 1966 Mencap started the Gateway clubs, offering sports and leisure Leisure is when you have time to do things you enjoy like playing sports or going to the pub. opportunities for people with a learning disability.
- In 1969, the society changed its name to 'Mencap'.
- In 1975 Mencap's Pathway employment service An employment Employment means having a job. service is a place that can help you get a job. This might be a job centre or an organisation An organisation are a group of people who work together. . began.
- The Mencap Trust Company was set up in 1976 to provide a discretionary Discretionary means it is up to somebody to decide if you get something. trust service for families.
- Mencap's influence and campaigning work saw people with a learning disability included in the Further and Higher Education Act.
- Mencap set up the first homes and community A community is the people and places in an area. -based accommodation for people with a learning disability in the UK.
- In 1985, Mencap's services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities were founded. These were among the first in the UK.
- A new national survey A survey is when someone asks you to answer some questions. of disabled people included people with a learning disability.
- In 1986, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother became the patron of Mencap.
- People with a learning disability were elected as Mencap national assembly members and became fully involved in decisions about how Mencap is run.
- In 1995 the Disability Discrimination Discrimination is when someone is treated differently (usually in a bad way) because of things like their disability or their religion Religion is to do with the things you believe about the world. For example you may believe there is a god or something else. Examples of religions are Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. . Act was passed. It aimed to end the discrimination Discrimination is when someone is treated differently (usually in a bad way) because of things like their disability or their religion Religion is to do with the things you believe about the world. For example you may believe there is a god or something else. Examples of religions are Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. . faced by many disabled people and to guarantee their civil rights Rights are the things everyone should be allowed to do like have a say, or go to school. .
- In 1998 Golden Lane Housing was established.
- In 2001 the government The Government are the people who run the country. The Government decide how much tax people should pay and how things like the National Health Service (NHS) should work. published ‘Valuing People' white paper A White Paper is a report that is written by the government. It talks about new rules the government wants to make. .
- In 2004 the Countess of Wessex became Mencap's patron.
- In 2004 Mencap launched its new five-year corporate strategy A strategy is a plan to show what an organisation, or a person, wants to do and how they are going to do it. called ‘Equal chances', which focused on securing equal chances in life for all people with a learning disability.
- In 2005 the government published a report, ‘Improving the life chances of disabled people', and set out plans to improve the quality of life of disabled people by 2025.
- In 2006 Mencap celebrated 60 years as the leading UK charity for people with a learning disability.
- In 2008 Mencap rebranded as part of the plans to make Mencap a more modern and dynamic organisation. This included the launch of new font, FSme, developed with people with a learning disability.
- In 2009 The Department of Health published ‘Valuing People Now', a three-year plan for learning disability services in England.
- In the same year, the UK finally ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It reaffirmed that disabled people have the same human rights Human rights are the rights that everyone has. These include the right to go to school and the right to start a family. as non-disabled people.
- 2009 ended on a high, when the International Paralympic Committee voted to re-include athletes with a learning disability in the Paralympic Games.
2011: Winterbourne View scandal is exposed by BBC Panorama. Since then Mencap and the CBF work with families to help move people with a learning disability out of inpatient units, to get the right care and support in their local communities.
2015: Mencap launched the Hear my Voice campaign for the general election, working with MPs to get learning disability issues higher on the political agenda An agenda is a list of things to talk about at a meeting. .
2016: The first stage of the Here I am campaign is launched to raise awareness and visibility of people with a learning disability.
2018: Health campaign Treat Me Well is launched to transform how the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital.
2020: Mencap is the charity partner of the year for the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Visit our campaigning history page for more information.