Midland Mencap’s After School club at the Weoley Castle Community Centre offers child care for children from reception to year 6. The after school club is open in school term time every Monday to Friday 3pm-6pm.
We cover local schools in the Weoley Castle area including Paganel, Jervoise, Princethorpe, and St Rose. New local schools are also welcome. Every child will be picked up on the walking bus by our staff who are experienced level 3 qualified play workers.
The cost is £9.50 per session which includes fun and creative activities, a safe environment for children and a healthy snack. For an additional £1.50 your child can also have a hot dinner provided on a two-week rotating menu.
To book your child onto our after school club or to find out more contact the after school club Coordinator, on:
Call: 0121 442 2944 or 07912269014
Weoley Castle Community Centre
Weoley Castle, B29 5TE
With this year’s Sutton Park Challenge fast approaching, we’re excited to announce we have two returning runners taking part! Tim and Millie both took part in our 2019 run and are back to join in all the race day fun again.
In 2019 Tim Livesley came first in the 10k race with an impressive chip time of 39:44. We asked him about his Sutton Park experience.
“The route weaves though woods on tarmac paths past friendly marshals. I’d recommend the race to runners of all abilities – it’s a lovely way to see the park, lots of support, and an opportunity to get a good time. This year I wanted to try something new, so I’ve volunteered to ride the lead bike to keep the front runners on course.”
We’re excited to welcome Tim back as a marshal and lead bike this year. We are sure he’ll do an excellent job of guiding our runners through our course, to the finish line!
One aspect of the race that we are especially passionate about is the fact it is highly accessible and inclusive. Whether you want to run, walk or push someone else in a wheelchair, we encourage you to challenge yourself. Millie was a runner that pushed her brother-in-law in his wheelchair in 2019. This year, she is back and ready to step up an even bigger challenge – the 5km run!
Our poster stars Millie and Andrew took part in the fun run in 2019. We asked Millie to reflect on her experience of the event:
“In 2019 along with my husband, we pushed my brother-in-law Andrew in his wheelchair for the 1km fun run for Midland Mencap. We all had an absolute blast, and Andrew loved being able to join in, having always been a cheerleader on the side for me when he has come out to support my running. The event was really well organised with fantastic volunteers and we had a great day. This year Andrew and I are returning to take on the 5km challenge. We decided to go for the longer race as lockdown has meant Andrew hasn’t been able to do so many of the fun things he loves to do, so we want to make the most of it!”
If you want to join Millie and Andrew in the challenge this year, sign up here: https://midlandmencap.org.uk/sutton-park-challenge/
We look forward to seeing you on the 2nd October, Runners!
In April, community coordinators Kay and Tess gave an online presentation to students from Queen Alexandra College , giving a talk about life after college. Students were able to watch the presentation on zoom and it was also streamed on youtube so that people all across Birmingham and potentially the world could see the opportunities and activities on offer to school leavers. We hope to see new people joining the adult community hub at our activities after September!
After a long covid-lockdown break, the Coventry Wayfarers group has started back in the centre of Coventry. To make sure we are still safe, the members have been welcomed back in groups of 5 each week. It’s been fantastic to see members come back to the session and a chance for covid-safe socialising after spending so much time away from each other. We hope to increase the group sizes even more in the coming weeks as the club gets up and running.
In May we sadly said goodbye to a much loved staff member and football coach Abdul Kenewa as he moves onto another career path. He has spent many years going the extra mile to support and engage citizens across our sporting activities and will be greatly missed by staff, players and families alike!
Luckily we have a brand new football coach – Isaac, who we have all welcomed to the team. He has already supported the team at the Birmingham Ability Counts League, which is a tournament of local disability football teams held once a month in Moseley. Join Isaac and the football team every Wednesday evening at training!
In May community coordinator Tess started a 3 week course for citizens – A Healthier Me.
Part funded by Mencap, citizens have been learning about the impact of different eating choices and what the differences are between being healthy and unhealthy. So far we have learned about the 5 food groups, portion sizes, what happens to the body when we make unhealthy food choices, oral hygiene, sugar, fats, healthy food swaps, shopping tips and food labels! A weekly 2 hour session includes one hour of learning and one hour of helping to prepare a healthy lunch or snack, such as chicken salads wraps, fruit salad and cous cous and roasted vegetables!
We hope to run the course again, so if you want to join us please get in touch to go on our waiting list! #ahealthierme
Group sizes at the Weoley Castle Community Centre are steadily increasing in line with Government guidelines – now hosting up to 10 people during seated and tabletop activities.Call us on 0121 427 6404 to see whats on and booking options!
We celebrated community coordinator Kay Franklins 60th birthday!
Our sailing and paddleboarding sessions have been enjoyed by a growing number of citizens and carers over the past few weeks. Join us on thursdays at Edgbaston Reservoir at the Midlands Sailing Club to try your hand on the water!
Want to get involved in our community activities?
Call 0121 427 6404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This Halloween at Midland Mencap we had a great day full of inclusive family fun! We started the day with a relaxed arts and crafts session where families could create their own marvellous Halloween decorations including tote bags, hanging cobwebs, and spooky mini bats. It was wonderful to see children cutting, glueing, and colouring their own paper ghosts to take home.
Those that wanted to explore the Sutton park’s Pumpkin trail then headed out together. Some used the adapted bikes provided by parkride, some brought their own bikes from home, and some chose to walk. While it was quite a chilly afternoon the interactive games and the company kept everyone is good spirits. It was lovely to see the kids come out of their shell and have a go at activities like hopscotch. Once we’d done a loop around the park, we all came back to the centre to warm up and enjoy some pumpkin cupcakes together.
Events like this are valuable to our community for lots of reasons. Tess, a member of staff and our resident face painter for the day, pointed out that Halloween can be a scary time for many people which is why we provide a safe environment where families can celebrate the occasion together. Oliver, who created ‘Hippo the Friendly Ghost’ out of plastic cups and paper, came out in order to practice his bike riding skills as he has dyspraxia. And Evan and Dade joined us to socialise with their friends. Therefore, we always work hard to make sure that there is something for everyone at all of our events.
To learn more about the events we offer throughout the year, click here
– Anjali, Volunteer Reporter –
The excitement and anticipation could be felt all over Sutton Park on Saturday 5th October as participants and supporters gathered together for a great day of activity, fundraising and personal achievements.
The day commenced with the cycle event where many of our parkriders rode their way to complete an impressive 5km; an amazing achievement for all who took part. This was then followed by 112 enthusiastic individuals taking on either a 5km or 10km run and many more individuals partaking in the 1km fun run which concluded the day. With a mixture of runners, joggers, walkers, bikers and wheelchair users it really was a day for everyone.
As a charity who strive for inclusivity and equality within society, it was especially pleasing to see that was this felt by all those involved in the event. With one participant saying, ‘I’m delighted today’s event has been so inclusive, and everyone has found their own way to take part’ and another saying it was ‘fab to see different people join in confident that they had been thought about! That’s how to deliver an inclusive sports event’. This kind of feedback is always wonderful to receive and proves we are on the right track.
We saw some fantastic results over the day and a special shout out should go to Tim Livesey for winning the 10km in a superb time of 39:44 closely followed in by Dan Melia and Naved Akhtar, and Ruth Horton the first female across the line in an impressive time of 52:58. Martin Farmer dominated the 5km with a winning time of 22:20 and Ruby Inman took the first female with an equally amazing time of 28:00 dead.
Another notable run came from Tom Kirby who took part in this year’s 10km. Tom has been supported at Midland Mencap for over 3 years now and as a keen runner has decided to run the London Marathon with Freddie another individual supported by a local group Harpenden Mencap. They will be running the London Marathon for Mencap as a squad of 15 runners to give back to all those who have helped them over the years. This will be an amazing achievement and we ask everyone to please get behind Tom and Freddie and the 13 other runners and support them through their London Marathon journey. Check out Tom’s fundraising page here
All finishers were awarded medals to mark their achievement and all photos of the event are now available to view online. Check out all the photo’s on our Facebook page here.
Massive thanks have to go to all our volunteers. Without all of you lovely people we would not be able to put on these great events and again massive congratulations must be given to all our runners and participants.
We look forward to welcoming you all back next year when we hope to make the event even bigger and more successful. Keep your eyes peeled for further information but for now, a big THANK YOU!
– Eloise Bull –
We all arrived on Monday morning to glorious sunny weather at the Frank Chapman Centre. We spent the first part of our time getting to know the people in our dormitories, unpacking our bags and making our beds. We were staying in large dormitories full of bunk beds. Following this, we had to complete a fire test and have a tour of the centre so we could familiarise ourselves with our surroundings. We learnt where we could go in free time and where we needed to meet for our sessions.
Throughout the course of the week, our three groups took part in a round-robin of activities. On Monday afternoon, we stayed in a large group but we were competing against each other in our activity group teams. We took part in various activities earning points for our teams. The activities included gutters (using individual guttering pieces to roll a ball to a cone without dropping it), the mine, low ropes, an obstacle course whilst holding a cup of water and to finish off we had the water pipe where we all got very wet!
Over the middle three days of the residential, we all took turns to take part in archery, climbing, high ropes, bushcraft and catapults.
Our first high ropes session was crate stack and Jacob’s ladder. This required us to work in pairs to try and get as high as we could on both obstacles. On crate stack, we had to pile the crates as high as we could whilst balancing on top! On Jacob’s ladder, we had to work together to climb our way up a ladder where the gaps got bigger and bigger! On our second high ropes session, we did the challenge assent and the high all aboard. For the challenge assent we had to try and climb to the top of the high ropes using ladders and ropes, and the high all aboard we tried to climb to the top of a tall tower and stand on a platform at the top! Some of us went up in pairs together!
On our bushcraft session, we learnt how to make our own little fires from scratch. We had to forage in the woodlands for little twigs and sticks and find dry grass to use at the very start of the fire. Our instructor showed us some different ways you can light a fire and then gave us a fire steel to light ours. We found this very challenging but had a great sense of pride when they lit and we saw them grow into bigger fires! We then cooked some damper bread on our fires and this was very tasty, even though some of us ate it raw in the middle! Our instructor was also very knowledgeable about how to live in the woods and said he had cooked a whole roast dinner on a fire in his back garden!
For our archery session, we all learnt how to correctly load the bow and arrow and how to aim and shoot at a target. This was much easier said than done! Some of the leaders got a little competitive with each other! As this session didn’t last as long, some groups went and completed the nightline course as well. This is where the group are all blindfolded and you have to follow a line with you hand through the wood whilst navigating different obstacles. It was useful to work together and tell people behind you what was coming up in front.
Lastly, we all took part in climbing. This was great as we could all go as high as we wanted to and didn’t have to reach the top to feel like we had achieved something and had a go. We worked together to hold the ropes of the people climbing and encouraged each other to do our best. Some of us took up the challenge of trying to climb up using just one colour of hold on the wall…that was very tricky!
The Frank Chapman centre provided us with lovely home-cooked food throughout the course of our stay with them. Our breakfasts were made up of a choice of cereals, fruit salad and toast with various toppings. For lunch, we made our own rolls choosing fillings from tuna, egg, turkey, cheese and jam. There was also the option of fruit and crisps and a home-cooked cake or biscuit. These included iced sponges, cornflake flapjack, shortbread and muffins!
For dinner, we were always given options as to what we would like, with there always being a jacket potato with fillings and a fully stocked salad bar to help ourselves to. Our meals included pizza with chips and beans, sausages with mashed potato and vegetables, chicken pie with potatoes and vegetables and spaghetti bolognese. All our evening meals were followed by puddings like strawberry cheesecake, jam tart and custard and chocolate sponge with chocolate custard. Yummy!
Throughout the week we had different evening entertainment after dinner and before bed. On Monday night, we had a huge game of hide and seek in our free time area. This was great fun and we managed not to lose anyone, although some pairs/groups couldn’t be found and had to come back to the horseshoe when our instructor rang the bell! Obviously they found some amazing hiding places!
On Tuesday evening we all took part in a game called 101. This was where in our teams we had to run around the activity centre site to answer 101 questions like ‘What bird is guarding the kitchen door?’ and ‘What does the sign say next to the boot room door?’ We had great fun running around and trying to get the right answers and beating our competing teams.
On Wednesday we went on a muddy stream walk in the woods. Some of us decided that we just wanted a nice amble through the woods, whilst others of us got very muddy and wet by walking up the streams and commando crawling through the mud! Lots of laughs and fun were had with many of us needing hosing down and showers on arrival back at the centre.
On our last night, Thursday, we had a disco in the evening and just spent time chilling out in our friendship groups outside. It was a nice end to the week to be able to play together and chat before we all left the next day.
On our last morning, we had to have our bags packed and beds stripped before breakfast, so our leaders woke us up a little earlier than usual…groan..! For our last activity session, our groups were all together again for orienteering. This is where we used a map of the centre and the grounds to locate different markers and punch a stamp into an orienteering card.
We split into smaller groups and our instructor taught us how to read an orienteering map and what all the different symbols meant. We used the larger orienteering map which meant we were allowed to go into the woods to find the markers, and not just stick to the free time area! Some of us did get a little lost, but we knew that to get back to the centre we just had to walk uphill! We impressed our instructor with the number of markers we found!
It was then time for our last packed lunch which we ate outside in the centre grounds as it was a nice day. We said our goodbyes and the minibus/our parents came to pick us up. We all had an amazing time, made new friends and tried lots of new things. Home for a well-needed sleep!
-Deborah Mcgarvey, CYP Coordinator-
Hi everyone and welcome back to my monthly blog for Midland Mencap this month I’m going to talk about my experience of starting up running and taking part in my first ever race!
If you would have said a few weeks ago that my mom would be watching me play hockey and seeing me run really fast and suggested I should find a running club. To be honest if she’d of asked me last year I would have said no as I was in a dark place. However my support worker suggested Bournville Harriers running club. I was very nervous but eager to give it a go, just like I was when I first went to hockey training and after my first running session I really enjoyed it!
Since I’ve been going running I have noticed an improvement in my fitness but I also noticed that the determination to do my best that I discovered from playing hockey transferred really well in running too and that is what a coach wants.
So from this new found love for running this then led me to take part in my first ever 5k race! The race was for Mencap in Sutton Park and would be a brand new experience for me as in terms of training I have never done this before but I still really wanted to do it.
The day itself I felt a real rush of adrenaline and really wanted to beat Gerard (you know who you are!) and I was focused to try and a run the 5k in less than 20 minutes. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel afterwards but I had the sheer focus to keep going! The weather wasn’t that great but that did not bother me! I finished it in just Under 30 minutes and was in the top 20 for the whole race, sadly just slightly behind Gerard…
But that didn’t matter as I felt a real buzz and enjoyment afterwards and it has motivated me to take part in a 10k race next time. Which I really think will give Gerard a real run for his money!!
If anyone reading this wants to give running a go or any sport really just go for it as the feeling afterwards is worth it. You don’t have to worry about experience or certain amount of fitness just give it a go as you never know you might find something you really love doing.
Thank you all for reading and see you again for next month’s blog 🙂 , Tom Kirby
We’ve had an amazing 1st summer at the parkride project from endless days of sunshine to endless numbers of families taking part in this amazing offer of fun free and flexible accessible cycling that everyone can get involved in regardless of need.
Its not just families who are benefiting either Lara who works as a support worker for Midland Mencap and has recently started to help out with the family project! Here she is piloting Ellie with Alfie cycling the circuit together.
Since joining the #parkride team Lara has brought a calm and caring presence to the sessions and really engages with the families, the smiles on Ellie’s face really show the impact that she is having!
Alfie on the other hand is growing in both confidence and competence with every session that he attends He is SO enthusiastic, and his determination and increasing independence are truly inspiring!
Another unsung hero of parkride is Chris, here he is with Dade playing ‘follow my leader’ to help develop his ability to control his speed and awareness of others whilst cycling.
Dade is SO energetic and independent! He fears nothing, and has a great sense of fun! His ‘have a go’ attitude and ability to bounce back even after the odd bump mean that he is developing his skills quickly… watch this space!
And finally this! Whilst having a bit of ‘time out’ with Dade on the Fun2Go double pedal cycle, Dade decided to ‘borrow’ Chris’ hat!
There’s a real sense of fun and freedom at our weekly sessions; it’s lovely to start building relationships with the families that are starting to attend once (or even twice!) a week… and to see them more comfortable and relaxed whilst they enjoy the opportunity to discover (or rediscover in some cases!) the joys and freedoms of cycling at their own level and at their own pace.
Want to learn more about parkride? Click here.
Powering into Queen Alexandra College on ‘Superhero Day,’ I was impressed to see an assembly of young marvels engrossed in a variety of activities. Monitoring the scene from mid-point was Big Robot Head, an immense technological skull brought to life by staff and superkids in a display of fearless innovation. AbdAllah was getting busy with the Hulk and looking forward to some serious gym-time. Also on the menu was the development of some out-of-this-world ice cream.
“It’s nice for the young people to get used to different surroundings, beyond the Hub and Clifton Road,” said facilitator Shereen. “We can bring beanbags in from other venues and have a bit of a chillout room.” Shereen is a full-time primary school teacher who finds wonderment in her Midland Mencap role. “It’s an amazing job, meeting so many different young people, watching them explore new activities and try new things.”
The sun splashes golden light onto Harborne, and Emillie walks into the college grounds with her computer tablet. She sits on a bench and scrolls through her photos. Happy and animated, her dark hair shines. “Emillie has come on a bundle,” says supporter Claire. “She didn’t want anybody to be around her, or near her. She’s alright with the other young people now.” Not even notorious party pooper The Joker could steal the delight from Emillie’s heart. She’s found fun and she ain’t about to let go.
George walks through the college grounds for no better reason than to meet the heat and ensure the safety of the local populace. Half-term activity days at Mencap are always super fun. The options are vast. The young people can get active or they can relax and enjoy their colourful surroundings. All things considered, I’m mighty glad I flew in for today’s session.
-Tim Wright, Volunteer Reporter-
We all woke up very sleepily on our last morning at the centre and worked together to pack our bags and strip our beds before breakfast. We had our normal breakfast of cereals, toast and fruit and then made sure that all our belongings were in the common room ready for collection later.
When the activity bell rang, we headed to the horseshoe for our last activity of orienteering. We were split into teams and then listened to Chris as we learnt how to orientate our maps and use them to find the orienteering points. We initially started using the top site which we were all familiar with as this was also our free time area. When we had proven that we could use the map effectively, we headed to some orienteering points in the woods.
Lunchtime was upon us before we knew it and we headed inside for our awards ceremony. Gemma gave out the awards for best dormitory which was won by the Yellow Room (the older girls), bravery awards, teamwork awards and also the ‘yes’ awards. Gemma had also bought thank you cards and flowers for all the staff and volunteers.
After the awards ceremony we had burgers for lunch and homemade cornflake flapjack for dessert which was very tasty! We then had our last free time as we waited for our parents/carers to come and collect us.
We’ve all had a fantastic time on the residential and many of us didn’t want to go home. The staff and volunteers are very proud of how much we have learnt and how our independence throughout the week has grown. They are also happy with the improvement in our teamwork and with the friends we have made that we would like to keep in touch with.
That’s all from us…until next time!