Torbay Mencap - here to help now and in future

Torbay Mencap chair Carol King

Torbay Mencap chair Carol King - Credit: Archant

Torbay Mencap is the local branch of the Royal Mencap Society.

Torbay Mencap offers help

Torbay Mencap offers help - Credit: Archant

We are a charitable organisation working to improve the opportunities, wellbeing and inclusivity of those with Learning Difficulties.

Our members enjoy the ‘one stop shop’ approach to problems, one call and our team will do its best to find a speedy solution.

Together with our partners local rotary clubs and Torbay Council we have successfully introduced, on Paignton sea front, a Changing place, (a specialised toilet facility for those with profound disability), making the beach experience more accessible to our members and we are now campaigning to open a similar facility on Torre Abbey Sands.

We like to ensure there are a range of activities available for our community and have facilitated the set up of clubs such as Corordin8 who offer a six-day programme of activities including horticulture, art, cookery and working with wood and textiles, and who squeezed in, just before lockdown, an art exhibition in the Spanish Barn exhibiting the stunning work of its students.

Gateway, a social club and registered charity was also established with the help of Torbay Mencap. Members meet on a Tuesday evening, to play pool or enjoy arts and crafts or just to partake of a little social interaction.

And then there’s PHAB (Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied) who provide two youth club groups for juniors 8-11 year olds and the seniors 16-25 year olds. Mencap provided funding to get the club off the ground until it was able to establish itself as a self-funding charity offering the much-needed respite for parents and carers.

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Although temporarily decelerated because of the pandemic we are working with the NHS to roll out the Treat me Well Campaign, adopted by government and The Royal Mencap Society. We have championed the use of hospital passports, a document, filled in and carried by those with LD to help hospital staff communicate more effectively with each individual and now we are campaigning to move them up the hospital’s agenda of importance.

We are also promoting a flagging system on hospital computer records to highlight key information that people with LD may be unable to communicate at the time of their admission. One of the constraints has been the multiple computer systems which are not currently networked and we have been communicating with our MP to ask if the recent plans for development at the hospital might include a computer system where flagging will be possible and a major benefit for all users.

During the pandemic we have established a Support Help Line for members offering everything from shopping services to dog walking.

Many in the LD community are especially vulnerable to Covid and may have been self-isolating for months which could negatively impact on their mental health.

We are keen to assist anyone with LD and their carers, whether or not they are members and to this end we are offering membership free of charge for the duration of the pandemic.

If you are aware of someone who fits this profile and may need our help please ring the helpline number 07545086409

Future plans for Torbay Mencap include the provision of increased respite care, the lack of which has become a critical issue in the Bay.

Another area of concern is that of employment. Once those with LD leave full time education there are precious few employment opportunities.

We wish to thank all of you who have supported our fund-raising events this year, the dance-a-thon (12 hour disco held at Boots and Laces) or who, during lockdown, have purchased our day wear and Christmas face masks.

Thanks too, to those who have become Torbay Mencap Champions, who donate £10 a year.

If you would like any further information on the services listed, or if you wish to become a Mencap Champion please contact Carol King, Chair Torbay Mencap