National recognition for 15 years of service
Wednesday 05 November 2008
Patrick Slater MBE, the President of West Berkshire Mencap and a trustee of the Royal Mencap Society - the official name of the national learning disability charity Mencap, has been one of the first people to be recognised with honorary life membership of Mencap.
Mr Slater, from Newbury, has been a trustee of Mencap for 15 years and stood down as one of seven of the elected trustees on Mencap's board this month.
Patrick Slater, who has a son with Down's syndrome, first got involved with West Berkshire Mencap and found himself "hooked". He was one of the founders of Golden Lane Housing, the high quality national provider of homes for people with a learning disability, and was the long-standing chairman of the finance committee.
In Newbury he was heavily involved in building and extending a centre for local people with a learning disability at no cost to the charity.
The Slater Centre at New Greenham Park was also named in his honour, in recognition for his long and outstanding service to the voluntary sector. He we heavily involved in its development which was created with a £1.5 million grant from the Greenham Common Trust. West Berkshire Mencap is one of the eight organisations that use the centre and it manages a recycling centre and provides training and employment opportunities for people with a learning disability.
Patrick Slater is continuing as chief executive of West Berkshire Advocacy (WEBCAS).
Patrick Slater, who is currently receiving cancer treatment, said:
"It is a tremendous honour and it was really emotional when I was told - in my hospital bed - that I was awarded honouree life membership in the first year it was introduced by Mencap."
"When my son Malcom - who has Down's syndrome - was born nearly 40 years ago, we had no support and his future was described in negative and abusive language. Times have changed, but many challenges lie ahead."
Dame Jo Williams, chief executive of Mencap, said:
"Patrick has been a tremendous asset to Mencap for many years. His dedication, passion and wisdom have been a key part in the development of Mencap and this honour is well deserved.
"Although Patrick is stepping down from his role as trustee, we look forward to continued contribution to Mencap. We also wish him a swift recovery."
Mencap Notes to editors
For more information please contact Sam Heath on 020 7696 6949 / 07949 857 259 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. Mencap fights to change laws and services and to provide better access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
- It is not a mental illness and should not be confused with mental health issues. It is not dyslexia or aspergers syndrome.
- It used to be called mental handicap but we don't use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
- For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111 or visit www.askmencap.info
- For online press information, go to www.mencap.org.uk/press