Walsall Carers Hub recently organized a remarkable Carers Week event, the Mini Carers Festival, to raise awareness among local Walsall carers about the various support services available to them and their loved ones in the area. The festival aimed not only to provide valuable information but also to celebrate and acknowledge the incredible dedication and support that carers provide on a daily basis. Attendees were treated to an array of free activities and refreshments, ensuring a day of relaxation, rejuvenation, and entertainment.
The festival kicked off with a group meditation session, offering carers a chance to find inner peace and tranquility amidst their busy lives. It provided a valuable opportunity for carers to recharge their energy and promote their overall well-being. Following the meditation, participants were invited to join a refreshing wellbeing walk, allowing them to connect with nature and engage in light physical activity in the lovely setting of the Walsall Arboretum.
One of the highlights of the event was the availability of free massages. Carers were pampered and given the chance to unwind while skilled therapists worked their magic, easing tension and providing much-needed relief. The massages were tailored to address the specific needs and concerns of carers, recognizing the physical and emotional toll their role can take. Big thank you to Heather Morris from Breeze Holistics, Sunny and Daniel from The Massage Company , Deborah Westley from Rejuvenate Skin & Body Clinic.
To ensure everyone stayed refreshed and hydrated, free refreshments were provided at the Visitor centre. Carers had access to a selection of hot and cold drinks, allowing them to recharge and mingle with fellow attendees. This also provided a space for carers to share experiences, connect with others who face similar challenges, and build supportive networks.
To promote balance and harmony, Amrit Singh led a group Tai Chi session was offered, providing carers with an introduction to this ancient martial art form. Tai Chi is renowned for its numerous health benefits, including improved flexibility, stress reduction, and enhanced mental clarity. Participants were able to learn and practice the graceful movements in a supportive and inclusive environment of the Arboretum.
During the Mini Carers Festival, the afternoon came alive with amazing live music from Kiel Wilkinson. Carers had the chance to enjoy the enchanting melodies, boosting their mood and fostering a strong sense of togetherness.
To wrap up the day at the Mini Carers Festival, as Kiel’s melodies continued to resonate through the park, Kirsty from Hummingbird yoga offered a peaceful session for the carers. Kirsty guided the attendees through gentle yoga movements, helping them find inner calm and rejuvenation. It was a serene conclusion that added to the festival’s enchanting atmosphere, leaving the carers feeling refreshed and centered.
The Mini Carers Festival organized by Walsall Carers Hub proved to be an incredible success. It not only informed carers about the support available to them in the local area but also celebrated their selfless contributions. By offering a range of activities, from meditation and massages to Tai Chi and live music, the festival demonstrated a genuine commitment to the well-being and appreciation of carers. It was a day of relaxation, rejuvenation, and recognition—a heartfelt thank you to the unsung heroes of our community.
We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Jenny Wells and Karvin Jhali from the NHS Mental Health Community Team, Paul and Emily from the NHS Self Care Management Team, Beverly Akimbowale from Adult Social Care, Jennifer Steane from the Walk in the Park Walsall Healthy Spaces Team, Midland Mencap, The Walsall Disability Hub, and Forward Carers. We are immensely grateful for their invaluable contributions to the Walsall Carers Hub Mini Carers Festival, which made it a truly remarkable event. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Morrisons Walsall for their generous cake donation and to Arboretum Café for their outstanding service and drinks, ensuring the well-being and enjoyment of all carers. Your support, dedication, and kindness created a memorable and successful festival, leaving carers feeling appreciated and cared for.
Last week, Midland Mencap’s PURE service hosted a celebration event at Weoley Castle Community Centre. It was a showcase of the work the project has been doing and a chance to delve deeper into the aspects new clients can get involved with.
To start the day off, Midland Mencap, Birmingham Rathbone and PURE welcomed programme graduates, families and partners from Birmingham City Council, BAES, Medequip, Nuffield Health and Fircroft College.
After Raj Singh, PURE Intervention Worker, gave a short introduction about the event and what to expect over the course of the day, the stage was for a live recording of the Midland Mencap podcast. Ashleigh Jones hosted a panel of speakers; Raj Singh (Midland Mencap – PURE), Antonio Rowe (Rathbone – PURE Intervention Worker), Tabriz Hussain (Birmingham City Council, PURE Project Manager), David Fellows (PURE Participant) and Claire (PURE Participant). The panel discussed PURE and how the project has impacted those furthest away from the job market. The live recording also included a question and answer session, with attendees taking an active part in the conversation. It was an insightful session, with a number of fantastic questions asked and topics covered.
Following this, there were short presentations from Chris Bates (Birmingham Rathbone – Chief Executive) and Daniel Rogers (Midland Mencap – Operations Manager), outlining the achievements of the programme, what has been learned and what the future may hold for PURE. There were also features from Tabriz Hussain and Rekha Davi (Department for Work & Pensions, Perry Barr), who provided insight from both a commissioning and partner perspective.
The main event – the participation graduation – was next. Midland Mencap and Rathbone held a presentation ceremony for participants who had completed courses with the PURE Project. Courses were run in partnership with Fircroft College and BAES and aimed to improve learners skills to access volunteering and work opportunities. Graduates looked smart in their cap and gown, each proudly collecting their certificates to warm applause from a sell-out crowd. It was a heartwarming sight and we are incredibly proud of everyone who graduated last week!
BBC Sounds recorded a soundbite of one of PURE’s client’s stories about her journey into the working world through the project. You can hear it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0fcxsvb
After the talks, the Midland Mencap Community Cafe provided a delicious buffet for everyone at the event. Attendees helped themselves to complimentary food and drinks and shared stories and experiences over lunch.
Afterwards, everyone was raring to go for the afternoon workshops. The workships provided participants and their families examples of the opportunities available through PURE that are meaningful and useful.
Midland Mencap’s Parkride hosted a Parkspin session, for people to try the accessible spin classes. This pop up feature was hosted in Midland Mencap’s recently refurbished garden space with all-weather, accessible surfaces.
Attendees could also get involved in a bespoke line dancing session in the Community Cafe and a HIIT class was hosted in the main hall by Nuffield Health, with everyone getting involved.
James and Daniel from Nuffield Health ran an engaging high-intensity interval training session and gave out prizes for the best trainer. They also handed out free day and week passes for people to use the gym free of charge. Daniel, from Nuffield Health, understands the barriers first-hand the barriers in place, having recently been diagnosed with autism. Now working as a personal trainer, he is grateful for the support. But it was “finding out about charities like Mencap and PURE” that really opened [his] eyes “to what help is out there”. To read more about Daniel’s story, click here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-65130995
BAES, Birmingham Adult Education Service, delivered an introductory workshop about the 5 Week Employability Course offered at Brasshouse, Library of Birmingham. Whereas Jo from Medequip’s ran mock interview sessions to give participants a taster experience of what to expect in a job interview scenario.
We would like to thank everyone who came to support those graduating, as well as key PURE partners. It was a fantastic day from beginning to end, showcasing the opportunities and outcomes that the PURE project delivers!
Watch back to what we got up to on the day!
In this episode of the Citizen Chat Podcast host, Ashleigh is joined by Charlotte Gotch, Manager of the Learning Disability Community Wellbeing Service and Pete Watson a Citizen of the Service. Listen to their experience and how it has made an impact in the local Birmingham community for people with a learning disability.
Host Ashleigh and guest Kevin, Midland Mencap’s Volunteer Manager, share inspiring stories and practical tips for creating inclusive volunteering opportunities for individuals with a learning disability.
By promoting inclusion and challenging stereotypes, volunteering for individuals and people with a learning disability can help create a more inclusive society.
Listen now to learn how you can support volunteers with a learning disability or create inclusive volunteering opportunities.
Are you ready for an insightful and engaging episode of the Citizen Chat podcast? Join host Ashleigh as she sits down with Thomas Pocklington Trust’s Senior Engagement Manager Louise and Sight Loss Council volunteer Meena to discuss the vital role of Sight Loss Councils and the everyday experiences of living with a visual impairment. Don’t miss out on this enlightening conversation that will leave you with a greater understanding and appreciation for those with visual impairments.
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Midland Mencap is a charity which works and campaigns for accessible and inclusive services and a better quality of life for everyone with experience of learning disabilities and additional needs. Midland Mencap is one of the West Midlands’ leading learning disability charities with a strong, respected and established reputation for excellence and innovation.
Sight Loss Councils, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, are led by blind and partially sighted members. We tackle local issues and work with businesses and service providers to improve the accessibility of their services.
To Learn more about Sight Loss Councils and Thomas Pocklington Trust visit pocklington-trust.org.uk
Join us on the Citizen Chat Podcast as Ashleigh sits down with Sarah Lilly from Cerebral Palsy Midlands to discuss the unique and inspiring journey of growing up as a young carer for her sister. From the daily challenges her family faced to the impact it has had on her professional career, Sarah shares valuable insights and experiences that will leave you feeling moved and motivated.
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
This International Day of People with Disabilities Ashleigh caught up with Mark Fosbrook and Alex Giles from Activity Alliance and spoke about their lived experience of having a disability.
To support the local community with the current Cost of Living crisis, Midland Mencap have joined the network of Warm Welcome Spaces across Birmingham.
We will be hosting free access to Weoley Castle Community Centre, Bottetourt Rd, Birmingham B29 5TE every Monday to Friday between 11am – 1pm.
You will be welcome to come in to our Community Cafe to stay warm and access support and resources.
Here’s what we have on offer:
• Access to free computers and tablets
• Free Wi-Fi
• Free plug points to charge mobile phones or tablets
• Access to tabletop board games
• Access to newspapers, magazines an quiz books
• Access to Children and Young People games and toys
• A lunchtime café with a selection of warm food and drinks (items will require a small fee)
• Friendly volunteers and staff, offering support and specific guidance
For more information:
Call: 0121 427 6404
For full details of the Warm Welcome venues across Birmingham, visit:
Looking for something fun to do on Wednesday evenings?
Do you want to participate in fun activities with young people for aged 11-18 years old?
Do you want to try something new?
Activities on offer
Gaming, sports, arts and crafts, film nights, Trips to the cinema, bowling, mini golf, and much more.
Where: Weoley Castle Community Centre, Bottetout Road, Birmingham B29 5TE
When: Every Wednesday Starting Tuesday 6th September
For more information please contact:
Call: 0121 427 6404