New initiative by Royal Mencap Society and The Harpur Trust launched to support 40 local young people with a learning disability develop employment skills in Bedford.

On Friday (9 January), eight students from St. John’s School in Biddenham delivered food collections to Bedford Foodbank, which provides emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the local community.

The students delivered food packages which they had collected at a Christmas party they organised in aid of the Foodbank at the end of last year. This effort was part of a joint initiative by Mencap and The Harpur Trust.

One of the students, Ben, who was a DJ at the Christmas party and helped to deliver the food packages last Friday, said:

 We all worked together and helped each other with things. Some bits were hard and some bits were easy. I want to DJ more often – everybody was moving. When you see everybody moving, you know the music is good! It did feel good helping the Foodbank. It was successful! 

Sarah Broughton, project manager at Bedford Foodbank, said:

 It's very flattering that the young people chose to support Bedford Foodbank as there are so many charities in the area. There is a huge need for food due to the current financial climate. Every donation is very much appreciated. It's fantastic that the students are committed to supporting the Foodbank. In the future we will be able to show the young people the whole process from labelling to distribution. 

The students chose to support Bedford Foodbank as part of a Community Impact Project run by Mencap and funded with a £30,000 grant from The Harpur Trust. The project is one of five which will be taking place throughout Bedford from now until the summer.

Mencap and the Trust aim to support 40 young people with a learning disability to gain a qualification in employability, alongside delivering a project which has a positive impact on their local community. The students are able to develop important employment skills, whilst building confidence and self-esteem.

Jonathan Quarterman, education coordinator at Mencap, said:

 We know that young people with a learning disability are three times more likely not to be in education, employment and training than young people without a learning disability. This project is therefore fundamental in improving the life chances of young people with a learning disability in Bedford and wouldn’t be possible without the support of The Harpur Trust.   

 Friday was a great day for all the young people involved. After months of preparation and planning, they hosted a wonderful event where they had great success in raising awareness and collecting food for Bedford Foodbank. On Friday, they got to deliver their collection to people in the community who rely on the vital service. They should all feel incredibly proud of everything they have achieved! 

For more information about the Community Impact Project initiative, or to get involved, please contact Jonathan Quarterman, education coordinator at Mencap, on 07930 563 790 or Jonathan.Quarterman@mencap.org.uk

-ENDS-

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.

www.mencap.org.uk  

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

About Harpur Trust

The Harpur Trust has one goal - to help and support the people who live in and around Bedford. Even though we’re one of the largest Charities in the UK, everything we do is for the Bedford area. Using the legacy of Sir William Harpur, our founder in 1566, our aims are clear and simple. We’re here to inspire and support people in the Borough of Bedford to improve their lives by:

  • providing and promoting education
  • offering help and relief to anyone who is sick, in need, hardship or distress
  • providing recreational facilities with a social welfare purpose.

Over 1,100 people work for the Harpur Trust, either at one of our schools or in the main office. Supporting our community by giving grants to local projects is core to what we do. In fact last year we gave over £1.07 million in grants to projects based in and around Bedford. This money helped local organisations and individuals to make a difference to their own lives or those of others in the local area.
To find out more about us visit www.harpurtrust.org.uk

About Bedford Foodbank

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Bedford Foodbank's volunteers work with referral partners to provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in our community. Last year foodbanks in the UK fed over 128,000 people experiencing food poverty.

http://bedford.foodbank.org.uk/