Hello To all my readers as you know due to the current situation we have found ourselves in I did not think the marathon was going ahead then I found out that a virtual London marathon was going ahead!

To be honest I knew it would be hard but for everyone who knows me after the struggles I have been through and it’s been tough! I had enough grit and determined inside of me with the amount of training I did and preparing for it. I was not going to walk away from this and giving up.

I was nervous having everyone in my Midland Mencap’s family and friends and other people I have to meet through hockey all believing in me was proof I had it inside of me with what has been a very tough year it would be an amazing achievement. To remember it would be the hardest and toughest challenge with help from my coach Jonathan and my guide runner Mark who was meant to be doing London together they were both committed to helping me run.

Also, Dan Floyd from Mencap gave his advice and leading up to it my run Adam Bone just by his phone calls really helped prepared me mentally and even if it rained it wouldn’t stop me my route was from roheath pavilion Pershore road then round cannon hill. Which is a beautiful park as my scenery.

So the day itself full of butterflies and excited so once I set off a nice slow pace it was going really well but there would be a technical problem with my phone which meant I had to break. But in doing so I was able to have a flapjack for energy sadly at that point I did lose my coach Jon. I was so greatful for his help on my first part of my journey! So it was up to me and Mark to finish it yes I was scared but through sheer grit I pushed through yes it took me eight hours before I finished me and my Guide runner Mark had meet not knowing each other wanted to finish.

This is as were a team and yes to my mum I’ll always be her legend those last few moments where I felt pain in my legs I wasn’t going to finish until the app said complete. Me, my mum and Mark all looked at each other and when it said complete we all jumped in the air!!

My journey had come this I had done my part as a Midland Mencap ambassador and shown what those with a disability can do I will continue to help those who need help and I am going to keep running and take on London and other marathons because there is nothing I can’t achieve so watch this space thank you for reading and with losing Honey that was really hard but I ran for her and I am never going to a dark place because she would want me to be happy.

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’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 took the England Flyerz Hockey team to take part in the FC Barcelona Para Hockey Festival last week. I was one on the lucky players where we competed against Holland, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Ireland. From the moment we landed no one could have predicted how hot it was going to be!

Compared to Amsterdam where we had one team this time we were able to have 2 teams in Intermediate and Beginners levels. As a player to experience playing in both teams has helped me to grow as a player, Ross as a captain was always there to help guide me and my team mates, which I really appreciated. As well Steve and Laura gave me the confidence I needed in the Beginners to push myself to the next level and help guide my teammates to victory.

Off the pitch compared to Amsterdam last year we were brought closer together as a team with walking round the FC Barcelona Stadium and cooling down having fun in the pool.

We also welcomed Tunbridge Wells Flyerz hockey players and coaches to our team and they made it possible for us to win Bronze at intermediate level and Silver at the beginners level but really it wasn’t about what we achieved it was about having fun and playing hockey together!

It was a remarkable experience and one that I’ll never forget and I can’t wait to get back to training. Your Number Nine player Tom Kirby.

Check out all the photos from the FC Barcelona Para Hockey Festival here

-Tom Kirby, Flyerz Hockey Player-

Canoe River trip, Friday 27th July
Come and have a relaxing paddle down the River Severn and stop in Bewdley for some Fish and Chips!
Learn more

Be safe online course, part 1 Wednesday 1st August, part 2 Thursday 29th August
Come along to our relaxed sessions to learn how to use the internet and social media safely. Learn how to spot someone ‘real’ online. Learn which sites are safe to use.
Learn more

Climbing and bowling, Friday 3rd August
Come along for a fun morning of adventure climbing followed by bowling in the afternoon.
Learn more

Graffiti day, Saturday 11th August
Join Charlie and learn about graffiti methods and design. Take home your own personal canvas. Be part of designing and making a graffiti mural at The Enterprise Hub.
Learn more

Kayaking 2 day Course, Thursday 16th August and Friday 17th August
Come and improve your kayaking skills over this 2 day course and work towards your Paddle Power Awards (Nationally Recognised Qualification). This trip may include a trip along the canal.
Learn more

Alton Towers, Friday 31st August
Come along and spend a day on the rides at our Alton Towers day trip. Cost includes park entry and transport from The Enterprise Hub or Clifton Road.
Learn more

Book trips and courses 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.

Frequent visitors to the Enterprise Hub will certainly have met fresh-faced Oliver Clayton. Seated attentively at reception, you can be sure Ollie will give you a cheerful greeting upon arrival. Get him going on his favourite subjects (hockey and football) and he’ll keep you amused for ages.


Earlier in the year Ollie became the first person to ride one of Midland Mencap’s hand cycles in Sutton Park. “It was quite cold to start off with, in the snow,” he tells me, before going on to say he peddled in the park for ninety minutes. Was he tired and freezing by the finish? Hardly. He cycles every week, thus building strength and stamina.


Ollie is a seriously active man. An avid swimmer and hockey player, he was a key component of the Midland Mencap Flyerz Hockey Team that won Gold in Amsterdam last year at the 2017 Euro ParaHockey Championship. He hopes to match this achievement in Barcelona, in a few weeks.


In 2015 the Big Flyerz became the first team of adults with learning disabilities to represent England in a recognised tournament. All of the signs indicate they will take Barcelona by storm. With Ollie on board how can they fail?

-Tim Wright, Volunteer Reporter-

Over the weekend Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott won gold and broke a world record at the Rio UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships! Read more about their success on the British Cycling website.

Read below how winning a Helen Scott signed shirt has inspired a young person at Midland Mencap “to ride her bike straight away”!

“As a volunteer for Midland Mencap I get to be involved in lots of great events and spend time with lovely people on a regular basis. It’s the most rewarding thing I do and just before Christmas I saw how it could also have an amazing effect on my ten-year-old daughter.

She came along with me to help out at the ‘Weoley Winterland’ event at the community hub. As well as assisting me with selling jewellery and bows to the many attendees she also enjoyed taking part in the activities and bought herself a raffle ticket.

This turned out to be one of the winning tickets and, being too shy herself, my daughter sent me to collect a prize for her. The one I chose was a cycling shirt signed by Gold Winning Paralympian Tandem Pilot, Helen Scott.

My daughter seemed confused about my choice (I think she had her eye on a box of chocolates!) but when explained what it was she became curious. As soon as we got home we looked up Helen Scott online and found out all about her achievements in tandem cycling in the Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games. My daughter became incredibly excited. She put the shirt on and announced she was going to ride her bike straight away.

Since then, she has told everyone how she won something very special in the raffle at Midland Mencap and she always wears her ‘Helen Scott Cycling Shirt’ for any sporting activity. She’s very proud of it and it’s clear that the story behind it has inspired her.

It goes to show that getting involved at Midland Mencap and the contribution of great role models, like Helen Scott, can make a real difference.”

Over the last three months I’ve been volunteering at Midland Mencap football sessions in Moseley. Over this time I’ve been able to witness the players grow as individuals and as a team.

One person who stood out to me was Bryn, who’s been training with Midland Mencap for over two years now. As a result it came as no surprise to hear that Bryn is an integral part of the teams’ starting line up. So when I asked what position he played he simply responded, “Wherever I’m needed”, in keeping with him and the teams’ positive attitude.


Bryn also mentioned, to my delight, that he felt the volunteers at the weekly football sessions provided meaningful support allowing him to talk confidently and compassionately to them should he have a problem.

Bryn continued, highlighting the importance the sessions have been in his development, stressing the significance the sessions have had on him socially and physically.


It’s evident that football has become an integral part of Bryn’s weekly routine, allowing him to meet people he may not have met otherwise. This is also what Bryn discussed being the best thing about football, with the social aspect allowing him to make key and meaningful relationships.

Daniel Twist, Volunteer Reporter

It has been another busy year for sport at Midland Mencap from the weekly social kick about to representing the West Midlands in the National Special Olympics. And also who can forget the roller coaster of emotions in Amsterdam?

To celebrate and recognise some of these outstanding achievements of our athletes this year on Friday 22nd September we held Midland Mencap’s 4th Annual Sports Awards.

Sports Awards Winners!!

Newcomer Of The Year – Tom Kirby
Tom has started a new sport, trained and played in a Midland Mencap sports team for the first time this year. Tom’s team (the Midland Mencap Hockey Flyerz) won gold at the European Para Hockey Championships in August. A great achievement for Tom this season!

Young Sportsperson of the Year – Ben Twells
Ben has played football and basketball with us before, but this summer he discovered another sport: tennis! Ben has learned new tennis skills really quickly, and it has been a joy to coach him and watch his very rapid development in this sport.

Most Improved Athlete – Anthony Couling
Anthony has been swimming with us for just over a year now, and in this time he has really developed his swimming skills: never an easy thing to do!

Sporting Achievement – Nagina
During the summer Nagina took part in the Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield. Nagina was the first ever Midland Mencap athlete to gain this prestigious honour! Nagina claimed her medal in the MATP (Motor Activities Training Programme) event: this is for athletes with PMLD but is able to provide a suitable challenge for all athletes. A real sporting achievement!

Team Player of The Year – Reece Brackpool
Reece plays football and hockey with us. In Amsterdam, he was a highly valued member of the Flyerz hockey team, with laughter and smiles following him everywhere! He also played some great hockey, despite the fact that he only started this new sport at the turn of the year. A true team player!

Special Recognition Award – Ross Faville
Ross also plays football and hockey with us, but hockey is his favourite sport now! Ross was captain of the victorious hockey team and played every single minute of the tournament. Despite his legs being a bit tired after all that, Ross stepped up and took the winning penalty in the shoot out during the final against Spain. A true captain, sportsman and a great ambassador for hockey

Team of The Year – Hockey
It could only be one team really! The Hockey team followed up their bronze medal from the European Hockey Championships in London in 2015 by going two better and winning gold. Team work, skill, dedication to training, supporting each other and then managing to win a penalty shoot out and a gold medal. A truly unforgettable experience.

12th Man Award – Families / Carers
This was a new award this year to recognise the valuable and sometimes unspoken contribution that all players’ families and carers made. This included getting their loved ones to training, attending meetings with us, fundraising, encouraging, joining in with training and then becoming the team’s very own ‘Barmy Army’ in Amsterdam (where they were the noisiest supporters section and cheered the team throughout the tournament and on to gold!).

Midland Mencap Sports Personality of the Year – Bryn Owen Jones
Bryn is a multi talented sportsman, playing hockey and football, and joining in with swimming. He even goes to the gym on his days off! Bryn simply puts every ounce of effort into playing when he’s on the pitch. A polite, friendly, cheerful man off the pitch, Bryn ran himself into the ground in Amsterdam for his team and also scored one of the penalties in the shoot out. A pleasure to be around, the cheers in the room when this award was announced showed just what a popular winner Bryn was!

This has definitely been a year of amazing sporting achievements and it will be hard to top. However, with the same amount of support and dedication from Steve and Laura, the athletes, our fantastic volunteers and parents and carers, we’ll give it a good go!

If you are feeling inspired to get involved with sports at Midland Mencap, either as an athlete or a volunteer, please contact The Sports Team on 0121 427 6404.
Find our volunteer roles on ‘Do It’ here.