Braintree District Mencap Society is a registered charity and was set up in 1955. Whilst they are affiliated to Royal Mencap, they are totally self-financed and need to seek their own funding to secure the services that they offer.
Braintree District Mencap exists to provide support to those with any additional need. They have a wide range of people of all ages registered with them, including those with speech and language difficulties, autistic spectrum, epilepsy, Downs Syndrome and those with physical and learning disabilities, including life limiting conditions. These are children and adults who find it impossible to access mainstream social and leisure activities and rely on Mencap’s support to do so. Braintree Mencap encourages and enables people of all ages and abilities to make independent choices about what they want to do and achieve in order for each and every one of them to fulfil their own individual potential.
This is lady ‘M’, a 14 year old young lady with developmental delay. Lady ‘M’ has been accessing Braintree District Mencap’s Saturday Club for a number of years and she has been growing in confidence, self-esteem and ability through the support the organization has been able to give her, ensuring that she is part of her community and looking at Lady ‘M’ as a person first and foremost. Although Lady ‘M’ has a learning disability, Mencap’s ethos is always to challenge their children to stretch their abilities and not to focus on their inability or disadvantage.
Bowling is an activity that brings the children together to experience social time spent with friends, it is competitive and everyone wants to score a strike! Lady ‘M’ found this activity quite difficult from a physical aspect, as well as the sensory experience with regards to the noise and lights. She would always choose to sit in her wheelchair and observe where she felt secure and comfortable. With the support given financially from the Foundation, Mencap was able to include this activity on a regular basis to support, encourage and change Lady ‘M’s’ attitude to one of “I am able”. She is now as competitive as the rest of her friends and really enjoys the social experience, leaving behind the security of her wheelchair. A real champion for “I am able”, look at me not my disability.
In 2014, DM Thomas Foundation awarded Braintree District Mencap Society £4,900.