Supporting Reading Mencap

We’re proud to support Reading Mencap.

“Charities have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, especially small, local charities like ours – we have had to continually adapt to support and protect the most vulnerable in Reading while our income has decreased. This means we increasingly rely on our local community to help us deliver our critical services. So AYL? is a great opportunity for us to reach out to you, tell you about what we do and ask for your support.” – Mandi Smith, CEO, Reading Mencap

Thank you for listening and thank you for helping: your generous donation means we can keep working to make sure people with a learning disability in Reading are valued equally, listened to and included.

Have a great festival – we look forward to seeing you there!

How We Support Reading Mencap

Thank you! Just by being here you have already helped, as proceeds from each ticket go to Reading Mencap, as do all donations on the day; all the money raised by the AYL? Poster Art auction; a percentage of every pint of AYL? Festiv-Ale from West Berkshire Brewery; a percentage of every AYL? Burger by Honest Burgers; and all the profits from the Reading Mencap Bar in St Laurence’s Church.

How You Can Support Reading Mencap on the Day

You can donate cash at any time during the day using donation tins in bar areas or collection buckets on at the entrance to each venue. Please go and say hello to our volunteers who will be happy to tell you more about what we do.

To donate by text message, text the word READINGMENCAP and the amount you want to donate (for example, £10) to 70085. Texts cost the value of the donation, plus one standard rate message.

Donate on our Localgiving page: HERE

Sign up for the Reading Mencap 50:50 Lottery: HERE
paying £5 a month to enter our monthly draw (please note you must be 16 years or over to enter).

Reading Mencap
More about Reading Mencap

Reading Mencap is passionate about improving quality of life for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families across greater Reading.

While we are affiliated to the national Mencap charity, we do not receive any funding from them. This means we rely on the generosity of our local community and fundraising events like Are You Listening? to continue our vital work, especially in these challenging times.

The Impact of Covid-19

People with a learning disability are one of the most marginalised groups in society, often facing discrimination, isolation and poverty. These inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Research by Public Health England found that, across all age groups, people with a learning disability are 6 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than their peers.

Throughout the pandemic, Reading Mencap has been helping to ensure that families and individuals stay safe, have enough to eat and can access their vaccinations and essentials such as prescriptions.

“Without Reading Mencap, I don’t know what I would do.”

Sarah, adult with autism and a learning disability

Our Family Advisers are supporting people experiencing cuts to social care and providing regular contact to reduce anxiety and loneliness.

We have been delivering more than 1,500 wellbeing activity packs to the houses of children and adults across Reading, including those who have been shielding, to keep them occupied and feel more positive while they must stay home.

Every penny raised by AYL? will directly help families with learning disabilities in Reading.

“During all the lockdowns, I was so lonely and couldn’t see when all of this would end. The telephone support from my Family Adviser helped to cheer me up and have a laugh. I don’t see anyone else, so it was important to me to get the calls.”

Sam, adult with a learning disability
Our Services

Our Family Advisers provide people with learning disabilities and their families with personalised information, advice and practical support with issues such as housing problems, lack of respite or social care, ill health, hate crime, welfare benefits and special education provision.

“I’m not aware that there are other organisations that can give this level of support.”

Jackie, parent-carer

We also run a range of leisure activity groups during the evenings and weekends, and a day activity service. These give people with learning disabilities the chance to make friends, stay healthy and have fun while their families get a break from caring. Activities include canoeing, singing, yoga, drumming, swimming, arts and crafts, educational courses and bowling.

“It’s fun at Reading Mencap. I get to try new activities. I like Zumba; I wouldn’t be able to do it outside of Mencap.”

Will, adult with a learning disability
What is a Learning Disability?

A learning disability is a reduced cognitive ability occurring before, during or soon after birth, and the effects last throughout life.

Having a learning disability means that you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks that most of us take for granted, like getting dressed, shopping or making a meal, catching a bus, having a job, understanding simple instructions or working out problems.

You may have speech difficulties or not understand fully what other people say, or not be able to speak at all. You may get very anxious about everyday problems, such as a letter arriving that you can’t read or someone asking you to do something you have never done before.

Some physical and genetic conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, can mean a person will have a learning disability as well. Every person’s experience of learning disability is unique to them. It is important to remember that people with a learning disability are individuals with their own emotions, opinions and dreams.

For more information about Reading Mencap and to find out how you can support local people with learning disabilities and their families by volunteering, donating, fundraising or attending an event, please see www.readingmencap.org.uk

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. @readingmencap

Thank you – from us and all those who benefit from our services – for your support!

Watch our video ‘Who is Reading Mencap?’