The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is long established having raised millions of pounds for deserving charities over many decades. 

The newly elected Lord Mayor, Alan Yarrow, has chosen Mencap as one of the charities to benefit as his older son has previously been supported by Mencap. He is also one of Mencap’s vice presidents while his younger son, Guy Yarrow, organises the largest dodgeball tournament in Europe and every year donates all the proceeds to Mencap. 

The appeal will transform the lives of people with a learning disability, their families and carers by helping Mencap further develop our helpline and advocacy services which are able to provide essential support to families and carers. 

Mencap Direct, Mencap’s helpline, takes an average of 1,000 calls a month and  responds to an average of 500 emails, while we also support 888 people with intensive one on one support.

Richard Yorke, Director of Fundraising at Mencap, commented:

We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the beneficiaries  of  the Lord Mayor's  Appeal.  There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK.  There are almost a million family members caring for someone with a learning disability.   We know that 8 out of 10 families that include someone with severe or profound learning disabilities talk about feeling isolated and exhausted.  Families of people with a learning disability are also more likely to live in poverty, while people with a learning disability who become parents are more likely to be unemployed, live in poor quality housing and have poor health. 

Mencap is here to help. Every year, we respond to calls and emails via our helpline. We can offer information, advice and signposting but know that so much more is needed.  We need to increase our capacity to support people to fully understand their choices and empower them through helping them access information, advice and support to improve the quality of their lives.   With the generous support of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, we can make a start.

In a tradition that dates back to 1215, traffic in central London came to a standstill for the Lord Mayor’s Show, a parade through the City to celebrate the election of the new Lord Mayor. Mencap and Scope’s float entry was focused around the work both organisations do for people with a learning disability, disabled people more generally and their families.   People who use Mencap and Scope services and supporters of all ages and abilities travelled alongside the float on the day, chatting and waving to onlookers.

Thomas Bachofner, whose young daughter Rosie has a learning disability, and participated on the float said:

Having a learning disability doesn’t mean there can be no quality of life and people need to know it’s not the end of the world.  That is why having support is so important.  My family joined in the Lord Mayor’s parade to showcase to the families of people with a learning disability that there is support out there and raise awareness of how important it is to continue to fight for what we deserve.

Being involved in the Lord Mayor’s Parade is a fantastic celebration for my family to be involved with.  When my beautiful daughter Rosie was diagnosed with a learning disability, everything was all very negative. We were frightened at the time. Our life was about to change forever, in a way neither of us could have ever imagined but so far I'm pleased to say its absolutely for the better.

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For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or media@mencap.org.uk.

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.4 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 Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email help@mencap.org.uk.

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.

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.

Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.