Imagine If…

  • By Caitlin
  • 7th October 2020

94% of Leeds Mencap families said that they have felt more isolated during Covid-19

77% of families supporting children with learning disabilities have experienced increased anxiety and 94% have felt more isolated than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a survey conducted by Leeds Mencap.

The recent survey was of parents and carers that use Leeds Mencap’s services and they were asked about their recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Cath Lee, CEO of Leeds Mencap, explains:

‘We know that COVID 19 has been challenging for many families across the country. Our recent survey has confirmed what we have been told anecdotally over the past 6 months by the families that use Leeds Mencap. The current pandemic has put them under incredible strain with many feeling overwhelmed, isolated and alone as much of the usual support around them has disappeared overnight. We are now looking at how we can adapt what we do to help more families.’

The survey launches Leeds Mencap’s new Imagine if campaign which aims to highlight what it is like to have a learning disability and show what’s important to young people with learning disabilities and their families. 

15,000 people in Leeds have a learning disability in Leeds: with this number growing Leeds Mencap are determined to get people in the city talking about the issues that families and people with learning disabilities face.

The Imagine if campaign features families and children as well as staff, volunteers and supporters talking about having a learning disability.

Cath Lee says “What our survey revealed was that families valued the services and support Leeds Mencap offers, and how important our activities have been during COVID-19. With our Imagine If campaign we want to highlight some of the issues that have affected children with learning disabilities during this time, such as them not being able to see friends or family and not understanding why they are unable to take part in their usual activities – like our youth clubs.”


For more information contact:

Sarah Hooker, Leeds Mencap, on 0113 235 1331 or  or donate at

About Leeds Mencap:

Leeds Mencap is a local and independent charity that was created by and for, people in Leeds with learning disabilities. We provide essential support, advice and care to children and adults with learning disabilities, along with their families and carers. We do this through a range of activities, including; our specialist playroom for families with very young children with special needs, social groups for children and young adults, sibling support, school holiday play schemes and parent and carer support groups. We make a difference because we work with families at any point along their journey, not only improving the life experience of the person with a learning disability but recognising the impact on the whole family and providing support, guidance and practical help.

Leeds Mencap. Registered Charity No. 1091809

Background information:

  • There are currently 15,000 people with a learning disability in Leeds.  This is a growing number and more support is needed.
  • Leeds Mencap is a local, independent charity and they need to raise all their own funds each year. They are affiliated to but do not receive any money from Royal Mencap Society (RMS).
  • The current COVID-19 crisis has seen many of Leeds Mencap’s income streams disappear overnight including income that we get from our room hire, community nursery and fundraising events and community and company income.
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