The year-long partnership includes Mencap being charity of the year for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, the largest and most high-profile marathon in the world. 

The fundraised income from the partnership will directly fund a programme in schools across the UK that bring young people with and without a learning disability together through sport to tackle stigma and discrimination.  

 For Learning Disability Week 2019, Mencap will be hosting a series of inclusive sports events across the country to help improve social inclusion and tackle discrimination against people with a learning disability.

The ‘Here We Are’ events will be taking place in 15 different locations across the country with activities ranging from inclusive sports days and yoga, a zumbathon as well as a coastal walk along the famous Millennium Coastal Path at Llanelli with Dennis the therapeutic Shetland pony.   

Mencap will also be hosting a staff engagement roadshow for Virgin Money, visiting each of their UK offices to raise awareness about learning disabilities and teach staff Makaton phrases, the accessible sign language used by some people with a learning disability.     

The staff at Virgin Money chose Mencap to be their official Charity of the Year through a competitive staff voting process. The two organisations are keen to ensure that this partnership is not just an amazing fundraising opportunity for the charity, but also delivers a long-lasting legacy for people with a learning disability.   

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

“I am really excited that Virgin Money picked Mencap as their charity partner of the year. I enjoyed speaking to the Virgin Money colleagues about Mencap and sharing my experience of what it is like to have a learning disability to help them understand why our work at Mencap is so important. This partnership is not just about fundraising but about equality, changing public attitudes through sport and making a world where people with a learning disability are living a well, meaningful life just like me. I’m looking forward to working with Virgin Money to break down the barriers to people with a learning disability participating in sport and making sport more inclusive. If more people take part in inclusive sport, the world would be a better place.” 

David Duffy, Chief Executive of Virgin Money, says: 

“We are thrilled to announce Mencap as our charity partner of the year. Mencap has been leading the way in challenging discrimination against people with learning disabilities across society, and the charity’s pioneering work on sports and social inclusion has been a game-changer. As an organisation we are extremely proud to be supporting the charity’s ‘Here We Are’ events during Learning Disability Week. These events will really help transform the lives of people with a learning disability and help bring about social inclusion. We’re looking forward to working with Mencap to make the 2020 London Marathon the most inclusive marathon yet.” 

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Royal Mencap Society, says:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year. Virgin Money shares our vision that every single person with a learning disability deserves to be included and feel a part of society. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Virgin Money which means that we are able to host our Here We Are inclusive sports events for communities across the country this Learning Disability Week. Our partnership will help us to make to make a real difference to the lives of people with a learning disability with the launch of All Move – our vision for a socially inclusive world with young people with and without a learning disability taking part in sport in schools together.”  

The All Move project is a new inclusive school programme bringing together children with and without a learning disability to tackle stigma and bullying through sport. 

The partnership with Virgin Money will also fund the charity ENABLE Scotland to deliver their own inclusion project, ACE Youth Groups.    

Theresa Shearer, Group CEO of ENABLE Scotland says:

“As Scotland’s leading charity for people with learning disabilities, we are excited to be partnering with Virgin Money and Mencap to promote inclusiveness. The money being raised will do so much to support our amazing ACE Youth Groups, which offer young people a place of friendship and shared experiences. These groups celebrate diversity, ability and individuality and campaign to break down the barriers to a more equal society.” 

For further information about the partnership and Learning Disability Week visit the Mencap website. Or on social media by following @mencap_charity and the hashtags #LDWeek19 and #HereWeAre. 

-ENDS-  

For further information or to arrange interviews, contact the Mencap media team: 

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. 

www.mencap.org.uk       

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk.

About Virgin Money

Virgin Money offers savings, mortgages, credit cards, current accounts, currency services, pensions, investments and protection products to customers across the UK.  

Virgin Money's business ambition is to make "everyone better off" - this philosophy underpins our approach to business by offering good value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive contribution to society and delivering a profit to shareholders.  

More than 15,000 charities have registered with Virgin Money Giving and, by the end of 2018, over £700 million had been donated to charities through the service since its launch in 2009, resulting in many millions more being raised for charity because of its not-for-profit model.  

Virgin Money is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CYBG Group.  

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 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.