2022. What a year!
We’ve had an incredible 365 days. From launching new services, to expanding our team, meeting with citizens, carers, and parents; it’s been a busy yet bright year for Midland Mencap.
That’s why we wanted to look at our year in review, month by month. To shine a light on how every month of 2022 we have supported people with a learning disability and their families across the Midlands.
This year, Midland Mencap launched a variety of new services and opportunities to get involved in the work we do. 2022 saw us launch the Walsall Carers Hub, the Learning Disability Wellbeing Service and new Volunteering roles.
The Walsall Carers Hub was introduced this year as an extension of Forward Carers and our Family Carer’s team. Based in Walsall, the Walsall Carers Hub offers a wide range of support and services to unpaid carers in Walsall. To learn more visit walsallcarershub.org.uk
Mid-way through 2022, we launched the Learning Disability Wellbeing Service, previously known as Supporting People. This new service now supports over 400 people with a Learning Disability across Birmingham. From assisting with healthcare appointments to getting the right benefits, maintaining a home and help with budgeting, this team ensures all citizens can access the right care they need.
This year we re-launched our Volunteering offer. Volunteering with Midland Mencap is a great opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people with learning disabilities. The volunteering opportunities are varied and often rewarding, ranging from working with our Children and Young People’s team, to being a Trustee and more. We look forward to offering more chances to get involved in the new year. Check out our blog for more information.
To say this year has been a busy one would be an understatement. We’ve hosted so many community events that you’ve all been involved in. This summer was fabulous, with a heat wave to match.
We started our 2022 events calendar with International Women’s Day in March. We celebrated and #eMMpowered women from across the West Midlands and the sector. With presentations, a delicious buffet and concert from a local singer, we saw hundreds of citizens, carers and professionals come together to learn more about the services we offer for women in our local area.
The summer saw two more events take place – the Queen’s Jubilee and Learning Disability Week Get Creative Day.
Our Jubilee Party was a roaring success! We hosted hundreds of people, from across Birmingham and the West Midlands, for a day of fun, celebration and activities. The Weoley Castle Community Centre was decorated in red, white and blue Union Jacks everywhere and the BBQ was manned by the wonderful Community team at Midland Mencap.
Our Get Creative Day followed on from this, as our way to celebrating Learning Disability Week. We hosted a variety of activities at Weoley Castle Community Centre, including arts and crafts, creative writing, baking sessions and drama workshops. We provided citizens and their carers with new ways to express their creativity and stretch their skills.
Our Children and Young People’s team offered various events for families across the West Midlands. We received funding from Tesco Community Fund to run October half-term fun days at Ackers and a Scout Camp site in Coventry. Families were able to experience new activities, such as canoeing, an inflatable obstacle course, and tobogganing down dry ski slopes together. These sessions were accessible for all and enjoyed by everyone involved.
Over the course of 2022, we’ve led a huge range of projects, across every team at Midland Mencap. We’ve provided citizens with new experiences, support for carers in Birmingham and encouraged creativity through new sessions.
Midland Mencap and Forward Carers teamed up this year to host two on-going sessions for carers in Birmingham. Carers could experience monthly Musical Meet Ups at Symphony Hall, where local artists would perform a lunchtime concert for them. It gave them a chance to take a break, listen to some of the best sounds in Brum and a chance to engage with our Family Carers team.
Speaking of music, we also launched a project with Henry Liggins called ‘Creative Minds’. In these regular sessions, citizens could learn more about music theory, learn songs and instruments, with the goal of recording them in a real recording studio. The recording session happened earlier this month and you can check out the final track here.
This year, we recognised that it was our duty to offer exceptional support, guidance and service, regardless of who needed it. That’s why we launched the ‘Warm Spaces’ and bought a new Bungalow. The Warm Spaces project was in collaboration with Birmingham City Council, offering a place for the local community to come, enjoy a heated area, with hot drinks and food to purchase. We met people where they were at and ensured our newly launched Community Café was being put to the best use, to serve the people of Weoley Castle and South Birmingham in their potential times of need.
In addition, we took this same mentality in the purchase of our new Bungalow in Quinton. We fully renovated and kitted out a property for a citizen to live in. Originally living in a high-rise tower, with limited working elevators, our citizen now has a place to call home that is accessible and inclusive. Check out the renovation process over on our YouTube channel.
Beyond these practical projects, we offered employment skills workshops and volunteering opportunities through our PURE team working with Fircroft College. We hosted a graduation for citizens who had had placements and workshops with us and our partners. If you’d like to hear more about employment opportunities and skills you can learn, get in touch with our PURE team here:
Our final new project was launched by our Communication and Marketing team. A podcast! You may have seen a few of our monthly episodes already. Ashleigh Jones is our resident host on the show, ‘Citizen Chatter’, and has been interviewing some incredible guests. We have big plans for 2023, so watch this space. Catch up on all the available episodes via any podcast stores or our YouTube channel.
Wider West Midlands
Of course, we couldn’t give you a year in review without talking about our wider services across the West Midlands. This year we launched our Worcester Adult Services, had the Flyerz Festival in Coventry and Walsall continued their weekly activities.
The Flyerz Festival was the first grassroots inclusive disability hockey event that was ahead of the Commonwealth Games. We partnered with Access Sport and England Hockey to host over 100 participants throughout the festival, whereby disabled and non-disabled players came together to join in the fun. It was a huge success, seeing people from across Coventry and the West Midlands learn more about accessible sport.
Whereas over in Walsall, our Hub team continued their weekly timetable and saw a regular group of citizens develop their skills, make friendships and experience new places through day trips and sessions. You can catch up with what the Walsall team are doing through their Twitter or our Facebook page.
2022 saw our Worcester team officially launch day sessions for Adults in the area. From trips and experiences, to sessions that broadened their skills and friendships, we’ve seen a growing level of success in this new service we host. We’re aiming to broaden the Worcester service even further in 2023, so watch this space!
Our final portion of our Year in Review is our two on-going services: Parkride and the Citizen’s Network Panel. They’ve seen steady growth with more people coming along to get involved in local activities, improve their health and wellbeing, and use their voices for change across the West Midlands.
Ashleigh Jones, our Include Me Coordinator, launched panel meetings this year. Every few weeks, citizens and their families could express their opinions and thoughts about having a disability or long-term health condition in the West Midlands, and what life is like. This year saw more face-to-face sessions as well as being accessible with meetings over Zoom too. Our next meeting is in January 2023; details can be found via our website.
Overall, it’s been another brilliant year. We’re so proud of our citizens, families and teams for all they have achieved. We’ve supported more communities than ever and we can’t wait for what 2023 brings!
If you would like to learn more about any of the services we offer at Midland Mencap:
Call: 0121 442 2944 or