Advent International, a leading private equity firm, has donated £400,000 in response to Mencap’s urgent coronavirus appeal. The donation will help the charity provide vital support to people with a learning disability during the coronavirus pandemic as well as empower people to build independent lives after this crisis through the charity’s supported employment programme.

The coronavirus crisis is affecting people nationwide, but people with a learning disability have been hit particularly hard. Mencap continues to provide the highest quality support to thousands of people with a learning disability and their families and carers, while ensuring that the 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK are supported through the charity’s helpline, online support services and lobbying and influencing work.

Charities are facing an uncertain future as the UK’s charity sector could lose billions of pounds in income at a time when they are facing increased pressures on their services. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Mencap has taken on significant new financial costs to continue to deliver its vital social care support, like the cost of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and additional staffing costs.

The charity has also taken steps to meet increased demand boosting its helpline provision to provide essential information and advice to people with a learning disability and their families and carers, as well as adapting some of the charity’s programmes to meet support needs during lockdown by delivering these programmes virtually.

Funds raised from Mencap’s urgent appeal, including Advent’s donation, will help the charity support everyone in the #MencapFamily through this challenging time.

Advent’s donation will also help Mencap to support the 1.5 million people with a learning disability to rebuild their lives and independence after lockdown. Before this crisis, less than 6% of people with a learning disability known to their local authority were in paid employment. Mencap works with employers and people with a learning disability to help break down barriers and provide support to people with a learning disability to get them into paid work.

Over the last year, Mencap supported 1529 learners through our supported employment programme, ranging from phone advice through to providing direct support both pre-employment and within the work place. 121 of the people Mencap supported moved into paid roles, many of them for the first time.

Harry Roche, Mencap Ambassador who has a learning disability, said:

I want to say a huge thank you to Advent International for your incredible donation to Mencap. It means so much to Mencap and people with a learning disability like me, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money you have donated will help Mencap support people with a learning disability during this crisis and our employment project which helps people with a learning disability into work. At a time like this, we all need to look after ourselves and each other!”

James Brocklebank, a Managing Partner at Advent International, said:

“The work Mencap is doing to support the lives of the 1.5 million people in the UK who have a learning disability is invaluable, particularly during this exceptionally challenging time. We are incredibly proud to support Mencap and specifically the employment project, which has the potential to empower so many people and change their lives for the better.”

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

“We are incredibly grateful for Advent International’s generous donation to our urgent appeal and our supported employment programme. Our extraordinary support workers and helpline team are working extremely hard to support the 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and their families. They will need our support not just today but for many years to come. That’s why we are delighted that Advent International has donated to our supported employment programme, which will help empower more people with a learning disability to build independent lives by supporting them into paid work. We look forward to working with Advent International to help more people with a learning disability achieve their dreams.”

Donate to Mencap’s urgent appeal and help us to support everyone in the #MencapFamily through this challenging time:

Find out more about Mencap’s support employment programmes:


For further information, contact Mencap’s media team on: or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).        

Notes to editors

About Advent International

Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors. The firm has invested in over 350 private equity transactions in 41 countries, and as of December 31, 2019, had €51.0 billion in assets under management. With 15 offices in 12 countries, Advent has established a globally integrated team of over 200 investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on investments in five core sectors, including business and financial services; health care; industrial; retail, consumer and leisure; and technology. After 35 years dedicated to international investing, Advent remains committed to partnering with management teams to deliver sustained revenue and earnings growth for its portfolio companies.

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About Mencap     

There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.        

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email        

What is a learning disability?    

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;    
  • Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;     
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.