Virgin Money and Mencap’s Charity of the Year partnership has raised over £440,000 including gift aid – a record-breaking amount - far exceeding the original target of £300,000 and any previous charity partnerships to date.
Over the last 18 months, Virgin Money colleagues’ fundraising efforts have included taking part in challenge events such as The Great North Run, holding bake sales, raffles and auctions. More recently, virtual activities such as step challenges, quizzes and bingo have raised vital funds for the charity.
Throughout the partnership, Mencap and Virgin Money have also been raising awareness of learning disability and promoting diversity and inclusion together. This activity included Virgin Money co-hosting a roundtable with Mencap to discuss the barriers to employment for people with a learning disability, during Learning Disability Work Week in November 2019, which was attended by 12 leading UK businesses. Virgin Money also provided work experience placements for young people with a learning disability. In addition, Mencap has been involved in the development of the bank’s Inclusion Strategy and has participated in key events such as the inaugural Financial Inclusion event held in July.
People with a learning disability have been at the heart of the partnership, from Mencap and ENABLE Scotland staff and people who the charities support, to ambassadors such as Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate and actor Liam Bairstow who attended Virgin Money events to share brilliant first-hand stories and experiences, helping colleagues understand more about learning disability.
As Virgin Money’s Charity of the Year, Mencap was also the official charity for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. On Sunday 4 October, 312 runners – including 64 Virgin Money colleagues - took on the 26.2 miles virtual challenge to raise money for Mencap’s life-changing programmes.
Additionally, 10 runners who have a learning disability also took part to show the world that people with a learning disability can achieve their dreams – like running a marathon. Through a creative communications campaign around the Team Mencap runners with a learning disability, Virgin Money and Mencap aimed to raise awareness and tackle stigma by promoting greater visibility of people with a learning disability and their phenomenal achievements.
Emma Tottenham, Group Corporate Communications and Sustainability Director at Virgin Money, said:
“We have enjoyed a truly inspiring partnership with Mencap and I’m very proud to announce that this is Virgin Money’s most successful fundraising partnership. Colleagues have thrown themselves into fundraising challenges over the past 12 months, including taking part in this weekend’s virtual London Marathon. Our army of fundraisers have shown real determination and enthusiasm despite the impact of COVID-19 and their hard work means Mencap can continue their work to improve the lives of thousands of people across the UK with a learning disability.”
Mary O’Hagan, Director of Fundraising at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“Mencap is delighted to have partnered with Virgin Money as their 2019/20 Charity of the Year. Throughout our transformational partnership, Virgin Money has shared our vision that every single person with a learning disability deserves to be valued equally, listened to and included in society. We are thrilled to be Virgin Money’s most successful charity fundraising partnership raising over £440,000 – a phenomenal amount, which will enable us to run life-changing programmes to tackle stigma and help people with a learning disability lead happy and healthy lives.”
Harry Roche, Communications Assistant and Ambassador at Mencap and who has a learning disability, said:
“I have been so proud to be an ambassador for our charity of the year partnership with Virgin Money. I want to say a huge thank you to every single one of you for everything you have done. Thank you from everyone at Mencap, ENABLE Scotland and people with a learning disability like me.”
ENABLE Scotland’s Director of Campaigns and Membership, Jan Savage, said:
“The support of Virgin Money has allowed us to help young people who have a learning disability to get more active, connected and engaged right across Scotland. We’ve been delighted to partner with Virgin Money, and their backing has played a big part in our efforts to support young people’s physical and mental health in what has been such a challenging year for everyone.”
Around 1.5 million people have a learning disability in the UK which means that they often take longer to learn new things and can need support with everyday tasks, like cooking, managing money, travelling and personal care. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual depending on the severity of their learning disability. For example, people with profound and multiple learning disabilities often need round the clock care and support.
People with a learning disability face huge inequalities everyday of their lives. They are more likely to be socially isolated, nearly twice as likely to be inactive and die on average over two decades earlier compared to those without a learning disability.
The coronavirus crisis has affected people nationwide, but people with a learning disability are one group who have been hit hardest. Mencap is continuing to provide the highest quality frontline care to thousands of people with a learning disability, while ensuring that the 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and their families and carers can get support through the charity’s helpline, online support services and lobbying and influencing work.
The charity has taken steps to meet increased demand for support during this time by boosting its helpline provision and adapting some of its sports and social inclusion programmes to deliver these projects virtually.
It’s not too late to support Mencap’s incredible team. Find out more about the Team Mencap runners with a learning disability and sponsor them here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MencapRunningSquad
For further information, contact Mencap’s media team on:
- 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
Notes to editors
About Virgin Money
Virgin Money is the new disruptive force in UK banking. Bringing together the combined history and expertise of Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, the digital brand B and Virgin Money, we are the only bank outside the ‘Big 5’ that boasts a genuine full-service personal and business banking capability.
We serve 6.6 million customers across the UK through a digital-first approach that offers leading online and mobile services, supported by telephone and branch banking, including a national network of branches and business banking centres.
We are structured around three divisions – personal, mortgages and business – offering a full range of products and services for consumers and small and medium sized businesses, delivered through our leading technology platform to deliver a consistently world class experience for customers.
Our ambition is clear – to make Virgin Money a new force in consumer and business banking that will disrupt the status quo.
There are 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 Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
About the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon partnership
Mencap is the official charity of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The staff at Virgin Money selected Mencap as their 2019/20 Charity of the Year through a competitive voting process in 2018. The partnership includes Mencap being the official charity of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, one of the largest and most high-profile marathons in the world.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a closed-circuit route through St James’s Park for elite runners this year with all other runners running, jogging or walking their own 26.2 miles route over a 24-hour period.
Every penny raised by Mencap runners will go towards funding Mencap’s life-changing programmes, which aim to tackle stigma and help people with a learning disability lead happy and healthy lives. The partnership will also fund the charity ENABLE Scotland to deliver a similar project in Scotland.
Mencap will be using its role as official charity partner of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon to help increase the visibility of people with a learning disability to challenge stigma and improve societal attitudes to learning disability.
About ENABLE Scotland
ENABLE Scotland is a Scottish charity, working to make life better for people who have a learning disability and their families. It was founded in 1954 by five sets of parents of children who had a learning disability. They believed that their children had the same rights as everyone else.
ENABLE Scotland is committed to creating an equal society for every person who had a learning disability. It campaigns to end discrimination, fundraises and provides personalised support to 3,000 people who have learning disabilities, the support enables people who have a learning disability to find work, develop their skills and live the life they choose.
As the largest, member-led learning disability charity in Scotland, the members are the voice of the organisation.
They determine the direction the charity takes to deliver an equal society for every person who has a learning disability in Scotland.