Listen to yesterday’s Sunny and Shay’s BBC WM show where Dave Rogers (Midland Mencap CEO), Paul Jones (Operations Manager for Family Carers Information Service) and Chris Proctor (Town Hall Symphony Hall) talk about the real impact Sunday’s event has for family Carers in Birmingham.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Book your tickets for Sunday’s Families together at Christmas Concert here or call 0121 442 2944 for further details[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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 –

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.

Midland Mencap is celebrating after being awarded £343,465 of National Lottery funding from Sport England to help low income families of children with Special Educational Need and/or Disabilities (SEND) in Birmingham get active with their children.

Four out of five primary school children do not get the recommended amount of daily exercise of 60 minutes a day, and are missing out on the benefits it brings. Children from low income families are most likely to do very little physical activity.

Midland Mencap’s ‘parkride’ family cycling project is one of the first projects to receive investment from a £40 million National Lottery funding pot that Sport England has dedicated to helping families get active together.

The fund is a key part of Sport England’s focus on helping young people have an enjoyable experience of sport and physical activity so they develop a positive attitude towards being active at an early age and continue being active in later life.

Sport England are funding organisations that help families get active together, because parents and close family members can have a big impact on children’s experiences. As well as giving children direct access to sporting opportunities, Sport England research shows that they are also significant role models in helping their children get active – because how a parent behaves impacts what a child sees as important.

Parents who are active themselves, and enjoy it, can encourage positive feelings about exercise and its value in their children. Yet many parents lack the skills or confidence to take part in sport with their children as they fear they cannot keep up. For example, if adults don’t know how to swim or lack confidence on a bike, this has a knock-on impact on the activities they feel they can do as a family and how much they encourage children to take part.

Each of the funded projects will work to address this by building adults’ confidence around getting active with their children, and by providing experiences for families that are enjoyable, convenient and low cost.
Midland Mencap understand that people can lead very busy lives so finding time to take part in activities together as a family can be a real challenge. For families of children with Special Educational Need and/or Disabilities (SEND) it can be even more difficult to find activities, events and things to do as a family.

1. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that children and young people do at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Currently, just 23% of boys and 20% of girls meet the national recommended level of activity. 47% of children from the households with the lowest incomes do low levels of activity. Health Survey for England 2016: Children’s health information Sport England commissioned-research conducted by The Behavioural Architects 2017

‘parkride’ is a fun, free and flexible inclusive family cycling project that provides the whole family, regardless of need with the opportunity to enjoy cycling.

The project will be based at Midland Mencap’s Outdoor Learning Centre in Sutton Park, and will provide families access to a range of adapted and mainstreams bikes and specially designed routes.
Sport England’s Director of Children and Young People Jayne Molyneux said:
“It’s not right that four in five children don’t get enough exercise and are missing out on the health benefits it brings. Just by seeing their parents being active, children can be inspired to do the same, and if they have an enjoyable experience they’re far more likely to continue as an adult.

“Parents have many demands on their time, and often lack the confidence to get active with their children. That’s why Sport England is working hard to make getting active with your children an easy choice. With this new National Lottery funding, Midland Mencap will be able to provide families with access to a range of adapted and mainstream bikes to enjoy together for free.

Midland Mencap’s Head of Children, Young People and Community Services Edd Terrey said:

“We are thrilled to have received this National Lottery Funding to develop the ‘parkride’ cycling project. This funding will allow us to start breaking down some of the main barriers that can prohibit families of children with SEND from taking part in physical activities together”

For more information:

Email: parkride@midlandmencap.org.uk
Twitter: @ParkRideMM
Facebook: ParkrideUK
Website: www.parkride.co.uk

About Sport England

Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.

It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

About Midland Mencap

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.

Our vision is a world where everybody is valued and included as active and equal citizens in their community regardless of need.

Tough to decide who had the most energy at the Enterprise Hub during February’s half-term play scheme session: The youngsters dashing about – laughing and whooshing through their sensory-saturated environment – or the staff members trying to keep up with them. The little adventurers making sand castles in the sand pit, diving deep into the ball pit, and running through the main hall with masks and dinosaurs, transformed the Hub into a wild fun-time hubbub.

Overseeing everything, with eyes in the back (and quite possibly the sides and top) of her head, is Narinder Sehmbi: Facilitator, activities organiser, Superwoman. Responsible for keeping the children safe and happy, with all of their individual needs met, she has her work cut-out but clearly delights in the challenge. Narinder loves to see happy smiling faces, and understands the value of days such as these, not least in terms of respite for busy Brummie parents.

Ciaran started at the Hub as a volunteer and has worked here for three years. His efforts are rewarded with a super-abundance of job satisfaction. Ciaran is a chilled dude who loves seeing the kids whizz about in a blur of excitement. Natalie works through an agency and, surprisingly, this is only her second day at the Hub. She thinks it’s fantastic. Natalie enjoys getting to know the children. Already she’s been praised for her skill and intuition.

Sully works part-time and loves the spirit and enthusiasm. He thinks it’s great that the kids can land here and willingly express themselves. Sully senses the Hub may have a number of resources the kids will not find at home. A burly good-spirited guy, he learns something new about his diminutive playmates every day.

Young Archie likes playing on the computers and initiating dodgeball games. His friend Zachary loves the ball pit and ‘role play.’ Together they dive into the soft play area and initiate a wild game of ‘dodgeball tennis,’ a high-energy activity that may have its roots right here at the Hub. Archie and Zachary, eager for victory in a sport of their own making, take it in turns hurling balls at each other and then batting them away, directly into the heart of the brave mob of spectators.

Half-term play schemes at the Enterprise Hub easily match the speed and endurance of Iron Man and Wonder Woman at peak performance – and you would have to search long and hard to find a hub containing more joy and youthful exuberance in the whole of the Second City.

-Tim Wright, Volunteer Reporter-

At the heart of Midland Mencap is the desire to help people, and to really show how much our services, staff and volunteers help those in need and those who care for them, I interviewed two parents (Debbie and Saeed) whose children access the Midland Mencap Short Breaks service.

Here is what they had to say:

1. What made you choose Midland Mencap and how did you hear about it?

Saeed: Around six or seven years ago I received a leaflet through the school my son attended. It was appealing because he could get involved with new activities and meet new people.

Debbie: My children are secure with them and they are happy to be here – once they come in, they just let go of my hand and they are free. Because they are autistic they don’t like places they are not comfortable with – they will not go back to that place, but they are always looking forward to coming to Midland Mencap. Even when they are home they say ‘Mencap, Mencap’. One of my children needs to know every day what is happening – on days where he has to go to school he says ‘Mencap!’ and I have to say no, today is Tuesday it is school and Saturday is Mencap. The staff are really friendly and yes, I choose Midland Mencap for my children’s safety. I heard about Midland Mencap from social services.

2. How has it changed your child’s, and your own, life?

Saeed: Even though it’s only 5 and a half hours every few weeks, he loves coming here and he gives a different response to other groups. He associates Midland Mencap with positive things and as we are content that he is in a happy and safe environment, we are comfortable having a lazy day or shopping while he is here.

Debbie: The change it has made to my life is that it gives me a break and gives me time to spend with other family. With my children, they get to spend time with other people so it makes a big change to their life too.

3. What’s the best thing about Midland Mencap?

Saeed: The volunteers and the staff. We are always met with smiley faces and they really care about each individual. My son’s uncle came to Midland Mencap before he sadly passed away and the staff and volunteers had a memorial service for him while my son was here – they really care for each person and acknowledge them as individuals.

Debbie: When you come back to collect your children they let you know how your child’s day went, whether it’s good or bad. If there’s any concern they will call to let you know – if they eat or they don’t eat etc. The staff and volunteers are always smiling and it’s a good environment – it is clean and safe. I always look forward to bringing them. I encourage other parents to choose Midland Mencap!

The views of the parents really highlight the positive impact of Midland Mencap’s work with children and young people, and they also show why volunteering and working here is so rewarding. As a volunteer myself, I fully recommend volunteering here to others!

– Kat, Reporter Volunteer –

Over the course of the February Half Term the Midland Mencap Children and Young Persons service ran 12 sessions delivered at 3 venues and reaching over 100 young people. Our theme for the week was Discovery with the aim that all the children and young people would try or learn something new.

At our venue in Sutton Coldfield we had an inclusive cycling event which was very well received. All our children and young people at the opportunity to ride a bike that was adapted to their needs. Some of these included wheelchair bikes, tandem tricycles and hand powered bikes. Throughout the course of the week they also went swimming, played hockey, enjoyed the cinema, took part in a drama and movement workshop, cooked on outdoor camping trangias and tried an indoor kayaking simulator.

At The Enterprise Hub in Weoley Castle, we had a visit from the Google Expeditions team where we entered the world of virtual reality. Our young people were transported into space one minute then under the sea the next!

At all of our sessions, the children and young people had the chance to do arts and crafts, science experiments, role play with dress up and discovery of sensory activities such as digging for worms and creating fossils!

All the children and staff had a fantastic discovery week and we’re now looking forward to all our upcoming exciting sessions during evenings, weekends and school holidays. If you would like to know more please contact the Children and Young Persons’ Team on 0121 256 1500.

Friends and family joined Midland Mencap staff, volunteers and members to celebrate The 4th Annual Sports Awards Evening.

2016 celebrated The Year of Participation, and with over 200 sports activities taken place over the year, participation seemed a fitting theme.

MP Richard Burden joined the evenings celebrations which saw Midland Mencap staff presenting players in various award categories.

“By encouraging involvement in a wide range of sports, Midland Mencap are putting inclusion into practice, building confidence and changing lives. It is also great to see real achievements recognised in the Sports Awards,” said Richard.

Winners at this year’s award include:

New member of the year – Salma Begum

Team of the year – Midland Mencap Development football team, players include Kath, Jo, Oliver, Nigel, Rob, Bryn, Jordan, Matthew & Jerome

Most improved athlete – Jordan Chandler

Most Improved athlete– Asim Latif

Sporting achievements – Nigel Smith

Sports personality – Jerome Browne

To find out more about getting involved with sports at Midland Mencap, either as a participant or volunteer, please contact The Sports Team on 0121-427-640430136887626_d2e7e64f42_z