Andover and District Mencap is an independent charity delivering care services within people’s homes and in the community. As part of our mission to support everyone with a learning disability to do more and be more, we provide a range of additional services including a Children’s Respite Home, a Short Breaks Service for children and young people and on-site social enterprises for adults with learning disabilities.
Andover and District Mencap go above and beyond to ensure the people we support in the community continue to be engaged in and motivated towards achieving meaningful and beneficial activities for their mental health, well being and personal development. Our charity works on the front line in the local community, providing personal care and social engagement services.
On Tuesday 17th March 2020, as an organisation, we unfortunately made the decision to close our community centre to the public. This also meant the closure of our Short Breaks Service, Children's Respite Home and Adult's Clubs & Activities. Over the following days our office team were given the tools and equipment needed to work safely from home whilst continuing to coordinate our Care and Support Services. Many of the people we support have additional healthcare needs that place them in the high risk categories of contracting Covid-19. It was imperative that we did everything we could to keep our staff teams and the people we support safe.
Following the closure of our clubs, activities and community centre we began planning how to ensure the people we support across all our services would remain engaged and stimulated through these tough times. Becky Barratt, our Centre Coordinator, mobilised her efforts and began putting together personalised activity packs that were then sent out to members of our community. This was a big hit and we had requests for more colouring and crafts packs to be sent out to more people. Our Operations and Inclusion Manager at the time, Lee Roberts, then put a plan in place to develop this in to a new service to meet the immediate needs of those we supported.
On Tuesday 14th April 2020 Lee submitted a grant application to The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF) for funding to cover the costs of PPE (for our support worker teams) and our newly formed Outreach Activity Service. This application passed the local panel for funding but was unfortunately declined by the national funding board as TNLCF had decided they would not be funding PPE as they felt the local authority should be funding vital equipment to keep people safe. After a number of communications with the Funding Officer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight (and a few adaptions to the funding requested) we submitted another application, this time just for our Outreach Activity Service. The aim of the funding this time was to ensure the people we support are equipped and able to fully participate in arts, crafts, activities, competitions and online engagements with their friends whilst our on-site social enterprise service is closed.
On Thursday 4th June 2020 we received a communication from TNLCF! They said 'We’re going to fund your project! We’re so happy to tell you that we really liked your application for National Lottery funding - and we want to offer Covid-19 Outreach Programme £24,190.00 over six months to help your community thrive'. This was an amazing achievement for the organisation as we had set up, mobilised and received funding for a brand new service in the space of 2 months.
Over the 6 month grant period (ending 5th December 2020) we are aiming to provide a range of activities, projects and resources to over 100 people through our Care and Support, Children's Respite and Short Breaks Service. Through the Outreach Activity Service we have purchased 10 iPads as part of our communication and technology project. We have also planned to deliver: 18 arts and crafts projects, 7 baking projects, 7 gardening projects (including the set up of a community allotment at The Wellington Centre) and 33 different types of outdoor games and learning activities to every person that we support in our community.
To find out more please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest from our Outreach Activity Service.