As a group of Mencap support workers, you might think the last thing we would do on a summer Sunday morning is climb one of London’s most iconic skyscrapers together. But that’s exactly what we’re doing in July to raise money for people with a learning disability! Here’s our story.
We are Team All Shapes and Sizes. We are five Mencap support workers based in Skegness, passionate about the cause and eager to make a difference. We have worked for Mencap for between nine months and 25 years! Some of us are fit and healthy (having just run a marathon), others haven’t exercised in years - hence, all shapes and sizes!
The thing that unites us is wanting to do something extraordinary to raise money for people with a learning disability.
When people ask why we decided to take on Step Up for Mencap (which is a vertical challenge to climb 36 floors up London’s Walkie Talkie building) the answer is easy. As support workers, we spend every day helping people with a learning disability to live their lives as they choose. We support a wide range of people to improve their quality of life, maintain independence and to help them reach their goals and aspirations.
We know how important it is that people with a learning disability have quality support and equal opportunities, so we wanted to go beyond our daily routines and take on the challenge.
So far training is going well. We are cycling to work, going for runs, circuit training, and Andrew has even become a volunteer coach at his local boxing club. We all know the last few flights of stairs will be the toughest, so we are training hard to keep aches and pains to a minimum! We’ve all found that since signing up for the challenge we have all mademuch healthier life choices, which is great.
One of the most motivating things about training for the challenge has been the support from the people we work with who have a learning disability. They are so excited and can’t wait to see how we get on. One young man we support, called MP, is especially excited. He has pretty much become our personal coach!
MP has muscular dystrophy Duchene and only has mobility in his hands. But this doesn’t stop him putting us through our paces when we take him to the shops, making us jog there! He also encourages us to do star jumps and keeps us on our toes when we support him in the pool.
MP is struggling with employment like many 18 year olds where we live, as most of the jobs are seasonal. MP is bright and becoming more and more confident every day I’m hopeful with our support we can find MP the employment opportunities he deserves.
So that’s why, as a team and as colleagues, we are climbing the 828 steps up the Walkie Talkie in July. Sounds scary and exciting right? We’re certainly looking forward to a glass of bubbles and the amazing view at the top!