Coronavirus Appeal Stories: Taunton & District Mencap Society

Taunton & District Mencap Society support people with a learning disability and their families and carers in Taunton and the surrounding area. Mencap’s vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included. The services they provide range from round-the-clock care to helping someone join in with local leisure activities, providing advice and information on things like employment and education to helping someone to live independently for the first time.

Dave Urwin, Development Officer, told us how their £2,000 grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has helped the team at Taunton to make sure their self-isolating service users have been able to stay in contact with each other since the lockdown began.

“Since the lockdown, we’ve been unable to continue our normal programme of activities and trips. Our members are adults with learning disabilities and some of them have physical disabilities too, and during the pandemic we’ve had to adapt our work so that we can engage with them remotely, mostly via Facebook and Zoom.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal grant has allowed us to pay towards the salary costs of our two staff, easing the pressure of fundraising for a while and allowing us to focus more on providing the best service that we can for our members during these difficult times.
If we weren’t here to support our members there would be fewer opportunities for them to engage in social activities and build valuable friendships. But we’ve been able to adapt what we do to make sure that interaction is still there.

Our members’ carers and families have found the lockdown to be a very intense time; their schedules have been completely upended and the Zoom bingo and quizzes that we’ve put on have been a big hit across the board.

Some of our members haven’t seen their friends in a long time now, so there are big smiles all around when they get to see each other on screen.”


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