Imagine if you could change the life of a young person with learning disabilities. Supporting a child with a learning disabilities means they get the very best start in life and have the best chance to achieve their ambitions and aspirations.
This year we need YOUR help
Help us give children with learning disabilities the best start in life
At Leeds Mencap, we strongly believe that there is a need to create opportunities for children and young people with learning disabilities and their families to be included to achieve their aspirations. This philosophy is at the heart of everything we do, from our playschemes to our youth club to our early years support offer.
Children with learning disabilities are no different and through our specialist playroom called Hawthorn and our youth clubs children with learning disabilities are supported to learn skills and socialise at their own pace.
This support provides a strong foundation for the children, allowing them to go on and fulfil their potential.
Help us to raise £1000 to give young people with learning disabilities the greatest gift of all.
Why now more than ever?
The impact of the pandemic on families who have children and young people with learning disabilities has put both parents and their children under incredible strain, with many experiencing increased anxiety and worsening mental health.
One survey of 547 families, published by the Disabled Children’s Partnership found that 90% of disabled children were socially isolated due to Covid-19. Shockingly, the survey also found that nearly half of the children had not seen any peers either in person or online in the last month. As a result, the development of key skills in disabled children has unfortunately been negatively impacted. Parents reported that the pandemic has harmed their child’s communication skills and emotional well-being.
The pandemic has not only impacted disabled children, it has also impacted their families too. 9/10 parents interviewed reported having feelings of anxiety and 82% of parents stated that the pandemic had affected their other children, with siblings being found to have issues with anxiety and sleeping.
By supporting our Imagine If campaign, you are helping us to continue supporting families when they need us most.
Yacine is a wonderful 3 year old who has been coming to the Leeds Mencap specialist nursery for nearly two years now. He is very close to his mum and loves playing with the musical curtain toy that we have in the centre and playing in the reading corner with his nursery peers. Yacine has Autism which sees him struggle with emotional attachment and changes in routine.
Since coming to Leeds Mencap, and being in a supportive environment tailored specifically to his needs, Yacine has come on Leaps and bounds. When he first began attending our specialist nursery Yacine always needed his mum close by, but since September he has happily settled in and is now confident to explore the nursery room independently without his mum The staff that work closely with him in the nursery have also noted that Yacine’s social skills have really improved and he is now much more confident playing with other children and is more accepting and happier to have his peers around him. Not only that, but staff have also noticed that since starting at Leeds Mencap, Yacine has become much more comfortable exploring different areas and activities in the nursery such as the ball pool and the arts and crafts area. The amazing specialist facilities at the Vinery Centre have really aided Yacine’s development and that development is something nursery staff are sure will continue. In the upcoming months they hope to help Yacine develop his understanding of choice, opportunities and routine.
Alongside support for Yacine, his parents have also benefitted from emotional support and practical advice from our family services worker. Ruth is on hand to support Yacine’s parents with any opportunities and challenges as he grows up.
“All the support we have been getting from the Leeds Mencap team is absolutely brilliant. Yacine is settling in very well and is well looked after by the staff, who are professional, caring, very helpful and kind. Yacine has been improving in all areas and achieving lots of his early-years milestones, such as building his confidence and social skills. We are also so grateful to Ruth for always going the extra mile to help us, we really appreciate it. Leeds Mencap is a fantastic and amazing centre, thank you again”, Ben – Yacine’s Dad.
By choosing to support our Imagine If campaign this year, you will be supporting the development of children like Yacine and allowing them to get the best start in life that they can.
£25 could buy a weighted toy that can soothe an anxious young child and help them to focus on the positives around them
£30 could pay for an experienced advisor to provide practical support and a listening ear to a parent who doesn’t know where to turn
£100 could pay for a makaton tutor to teach parents attending our coffee mornings some basic signs so they can understand and communicate with their non-verbal child
£200 could pay for a group of young adults to go bowling together, giving them an opportunity for independence and socialising
£500 could pay for the skilled staff needed to help children develop their early years skills during two sensory play sessions in our specialist playroom
The Imagine if… campaign, features families and children as well as staff, volunteers, businesses and supporters talking about having a learning disability and their relationship with Leeds Mencap.
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.
Imagine if…short films
We have produced a series of nine short films. Each with a different aim and focus, this might be to show the varied services that Leeds Mencap provide, having a learning disability from the perspective of parents, sibling or the young person, or ways that businesses, individuals and the community of Leeds can get involved and support our work.
In the first film, we hear from two parents on how Leeds Mencap is supporting their journey.
In the second film, we hear from our CEO, Cath Lee, parents and siblings, focusing on introducing Leeds Mencap and all that we do.
The third film shows the impact of our work.
In the fourth and fifth films, we hear from some of the young people who attend our Friday Club and what they like doing, their thoughts on Christmas and aspirations for the future.
You can watch the films here:
Ways to get involved...
Simple steps for you to make a difference to the lives of children with learning disabilities
Support our Imagine if campaign and made a donation: https://www.leedsmencap.org.uk/donate/
Check out our events at www.leedsmencap.org.uk/events – you can get involved at home with friends or with colleagues
Follow us on Facebook @Leedsmencap or Twitter or LinkedIn and share our videos, news and stories with your friends
Sign up to receive our monthly newsletters https://www.leedsmencap.org.uk/newsletter-sign-up/ and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.