August 2017 News

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the Summer and getting out and about while the sun shines, well sometimes anyway!  There was certainly no shortage of sunshine on the Taunton Mencap holiday to Torquay, which seems to have hit the spot with many members.  We now need to make a decision on whether to repeat the holiday in 2018 or 2019.  Please make sure you help those you care for with filling in the Evaluation Form enclosed with this newsletter.

  We have lots of good news to share with you in this newsletter.  We are delighted to welcome ‘Marathon Man’, Chris Poole, into the fold as our new Treasurer and we are all looking forward to working with him.  Comic Relief has granted Taunton Mencap a £1,000 grant via their ‘Community Cash’ fund.  We have been offered some exciting FREE additional activities to our forthcoming programme.  See page 3 for more details. Following an appeal for a suitable garden for a Garden Party and Cream Tea in Stogumber’s parish magazine, I was inundated with no less than 7 offers!  I have chosen a delightful garden in Kingswood (just outside Stogumber), which has plenty of parking, so we look forward to welcoming as many Taunton Mencap members as possible.  Fingers crossed for good weather!  Vice Chair, Jo Davenport, will be helping me in the kitchen and we recently had a ‘planning meeting’, while having an eventful walk (paths blocked by bull and 7ft maize!) from Trull to Corfe and back and taking some much-needed refreshment at the delightful ‘Welly’s’.  All in a day’s work…….                                     Judith

Terrific Torquay

Taunton Mencap's keenly anticipated holiday to Torquay has been declared a great success and plans are already in place for a repeat trip next year.  Perfect weather, a wonderful hotel and good company all combined to make this holiday truly memorable, as can bee seen from the selection of pictures and parent's Facebook comment below:

We could have been on the French Riviera – hot sun, palm trees, and a real need to cover up with hats and sunglasses and apply that sun-cream.

The hotel was, as promised, bursting with things to do: great outdoor swimming- pools; attractive indoor  pools where we took refuge from the sun; a cool (in both senses of the word) games room with pool, snooker, ten-pin-bowling amongst other delights and evening entertainment in the Starlight Room that our members could enjoy and join in with.

The food was great and plentiful and the waiting-staff friendly and accommodating. Many of the other guests were elderly – getting their holidays in before the school holidays - and seemed to enjoy chatting with members of our group. There was a relaxed and friendly feel to the hotel experience.

Individual groups organised their own excursions: a boat trip to Dartmouth via Brixham: a visit to the delightful village of Babbacombe among others. The hop-on-hop-off train stopped just outside the hotel and took us to the Marina (again that feeling of being on a different Riviera.) The hotel was ideally situated for the beach too: one person went snorkelling each morning, most of us just paddled!

What did we learn from our first holiday? Patience in waiting for the rather quirky lifts and negotiating the narrow passageways on the accommodation floors of the hotel; the need to factor in a nice lie-down before dinner - carers, that is, the rest seemed to have limitless energy; the feeling that we could feel supported by other carers and by the friendship of our learning disabled members for us and for each other in the task of making sure everyone had a good time.

We had hesitated over the strong recommendation to have no more than two cared-for individuals to each carer. This proved to be a good rule. When individuals have high needs for care and supervision, we would recommend an even higher ratio of carers to cared-for.

The consensus was of a great holiday in great company.   ‘Go again?’                                                                                          A.C.

Out and About  

by Lynda Dunn

West Somerset Railway Once again this popular event on the train was enjoyed by everyone, steaming through the countryside and looking at the stunning scenery was an absolute delight. Some of us went to Foxes Hotel for lunch, where we were presented with a suberb lunch as usual, while others made alternative food arrangements.
The sun shone through eventually and we   listened to a local band performing in   Blenheim Gardens while relaxing and soaking up the rays!           

Weston Air Show   
This was our first successful trip to the Weston Air Show and armed forces day.   We had glorious sunshine all day, which was fantastic to see the free aerial display. We had jets, bi-planes and Typhoons roaring through the skies and, of course, the lovely fly past of Battle of Britain. Unfortunately, time got the better of us and we missed the Red Arrows. Hopefully, we can see them next time. Apart from the flying displays, everyone enjoyed themselves on the fun fair rides, watching military displays, wandering aimlessly through the armed force village, and a fantastic display of birds of prey.   

South Devon Railway
After initial debate on the coach, about having being here before, we were delighted to arrive  and discover that this time we were going to see different attractions. After a well deserved drink stop, we all headed into the butterfly house, but my, wasn't it hot in there!  However, lots of lovely butterflies flying all around us. We then listened to a talk about some otters, and saw them scurrying around for their food. After lunch we all boarded the steam train to Totnes, sweeping through the beautiful countryside and a quick stop in Totnes for a much-needed  ice cream , before the return journey back to the coach at Buckfastleigh. 

Train Enthusiasts' Holiday

Hi There Train Fans!  I would  like to tell you all about a fantastic place we went on holiday in Cornwall called the Lappa Valley Steam Train Line.
  They have a two bedroomed very comfortable  flat with all the usual amenities you could wish for  in a converted signal box right over the engine sheds where you can watch the trains being coaled up and moved about every day. It is up two flights of steps, so not ideal for those with limited mobility.   Action starts at 8 in the mornings so no good for late risers. It’s fantastic to watch the drivers getting ready and all the smells and smoke of the steam trains.  The line is set up in a very large area of lovely countryside with ponds and walks etc.  At the end of the line is a boating lake and crazy golf which are all free for you to use as many times as you like if you are staying in the flat. You can also travel up and down all day for free if that is what you would like to do.   There are also two cafes at the other end of the line.  The drivers are all so friendly, helpful with disabled people and happy to talk about the trains and let you get quite close to see what they are doing.  
  The railway opens to the public at 10.00 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. and after that the whole place is quiet and yours to wander about in peace. 
  It’s only about 15 minutes’ drive from Newquay and all the attractions there and close to lots of lovely Cornish beaches.   If you are interested just look on and you can get all the information you need to book. Happy Steaming!                                                                           Pauline  Green

Somerset West Lottery

Taunton Mencap now has a Somerset West Lottery page!  Support us and other local causes and win prizes of up to £25,000.  50% of all tickets sold from our Lottery page come to us.  Tickets only cost £1.00 per week.  Go to

Recruit a Member!

Do you know anyone who would like to be a member of Taunton Mencap?  We are offering a FREE activity for any member who can recruit another.  Remember that members are entitled to attend all Taunton Mencap events, enjoy discounted holidays at the Caravan and feel part of a lively, active organisation.  Contact Judith or Lyn with your suggestions.

All Change

Chris Poole has featured regularly in this newsletter for all his fundraising efforts for Taunton Mencap, firstly by running the London Marathon and now by running a mile every day, along with his wife Denise, for the whole of 2017.  Not for the faint-hearted!

Now Chris will be helping us in another way—by taking over as Taunton Mencap’s Treasurer from David Brooks-Daw. Thank you, Chris, for ‘stepping in’! This is also a task which is not for the faint-hearted and one which has been carried out for many years with quiet and capable efficiency by David.  Thankfully, we won’t be losing David altogether, as he will remain on the Committee, but we thank him wholeheartedly for all the tremendous work he has done for Taunton Mencap.

Chris is already gearing up to get ‘up to speed’ and will be taking over from David on 1st October.