May 2018 News

Hello Everyone,

Well, after 61 newsletters and 16 very busy years of working for Taunton Mencap, it is time for me to hand over the reins to someone else.I won’t be leaving until the end of October, but we need to start the recruitment process as soon as possible, to ensure that my successor has some ‘handover time’ with me before they take over. As most of you know, Lyn and I are the only salaried staff at Taunton Mencap and an advertisement follows this article.  Experience of learning disability is obviously an advantage, but organisational skills, I.T. and written communication skills are the most important part of the job.It is going to be a big wrench for me, but I am looking forward to having some more time to walk and enjoy our Scottish home.In the meantime, it’s business as usual…….

We are very excited to be working with My Day to deliver the ‘Music Man Project’ and start an evening club together.See below for more details.

There have been a few changes in the 2018 Diary of Events, so if you still have your copy, you may wish to add these amendments.The cost increases of Ten Pin Bowling at Hollywood Bowl have made it impossible to continue to offer this activity, but our regular bowlers need not miss out. See article entitled 'Skittles'.  We have decided to drop the idea of going to Watchet Music Festival as a group, as the cost of the tickets (£30) without any group concessions was felt to be too much for most.However,for those of you who still wish to go, the festival runs from 24th to 26th August, with the Wurzels appearing on the Sunday.Carers will be admitted for free on providing evidence of middle or higher rate DLA or PIPs.

Wishing all the Torquay holidaymakers a very happy holiday and have a great summer everyone!


Job Vacancy

Taunton Mencap is recruiting the post of Development Officer
10 hours per week
Salary: £10-£12.00 per hour, depending on experience.To be reviewed after 6 months

Key Duties:
Organise activities.Compile an annual programme of events.
Fundraising, including submitting funding applications to grant-giving bodies.
Compile quarterly newsletter.
Design publicity materials
Maintain the membership database and recruit new members.
Attend events to publicise Taunton Mencap.
Organise committee meetings, take and distribute minutes. Report to the committee.
Recruit volunteers
Maintain website

Essential Skills: Administration, I.T. (MSAccess, Publisher or other D.T.P. program, Word), fundraising experience, written communication.

To apply: please send a letter and/or C.V. detailing your experience and career history to: Judith Bryant, Bramble Cottage, Stogumber, Taunton TA4 3SZ or email:

There is still plenty of availability at the Taunton Mencap Caravan.Remember that the Caravan is subsidised to make holidays affordable to all, with a week costing only £260 in high summer for Taunton Mencap members.Short breaks and weekends are also available.One small dog is now permitted at an additional cost of £20 per week.A brochure is attached for those receiving this newsletter by email.

The caravan is very well equipped and sleeps up to six people.It is ideally situated for walking the coast path, fossil hunting on the beach, enjoying leisurely meals while overlooking the sea at The Anchor or just kicking back and relaxing on the veranda.

Contact David Brooks-Daw to book on 01823 252718 or email:


The concessions we have been enjoying at Hollywood Bowl have now been removed, making the cost per person too high for us to continue with these sessions. Regular bowlers need not panic!Following some research by Lyn and discussion within the committee, Ten Pin Bowling is going to be replaced by Skittles at the Princess Royal Pub in Canon Street.The landlords have been very supportive of Taunton Mencap in the past and continue to do so.There are a couple of date changes from the originals in the Diary of Events, as these dates clashed with scheduled events at the pub.So, please note the new dates for June and July above.You will also note that the cost has been REDUCED to £3.00 and we have also been offered a Christmas Dinner on Sunday, 16th December at £10 per head.More of this in the next newsletter.We are looking forward to working with our friends at the Princess Royal.

Easter Egg Hunt

We were still waiting for Spring to arrive for the Easter Egg Hunt on 24th March and the collection of tokens in Six Acres grounds seemed to be quicker than ever, with members keen to retrieve their Easter Eggs and get back inside for Averil’s sumptuous tea.Prizes for the best Easter bonnets went to Nico Hayden, Caroline Crouch and Tracey Lapham.Once again, our grateful thanks to Averil and Matt Long (and Dom!) who facilitated this activity at no cost to Taunton Mencap, providing all the food, Eggs and raffle prizes.We raised £160 for group funds.      

Exciting News!

We are working with our friends at My Day to provide a weekly evening activity for Taunton Mencap members and My Day clients starting in September.‘Music Man’, is a national initiative involving weekly fun music sessions with Glockenspiels, tambourines, drums, woodblocks and hand bells and will lead to a performance with other groups around the County and ultimately to a performance in the Royal Albert Hall!  Sarah Chidgey, a music teacher from Court Fields school will be leading the project and is currently undertaking the relevant training.The instigator of Music Man, David Stanley, has been asked to join us at the Picnic on 7th July to tell us more and inspire members to be involved.Taunton Mencap has been able to launch this initiative with assistance from Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Small Grants Fund.We will be bringing you more news of the Music Man Project shortly.In the meantime, you may wish to check out

Keeping Us Entertained

Anyone Can Cook.This session was judged as ‘excellent.’Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and made individually topped bread pizzas and an apple crumble.Our instructor, Catherine, provided all the ingredients, equipment and utensils and everyone was able to take home the fruits of their labour.

‘Home on the Range’.On Saturday, 10th March Flashback Theatre entertained us with their Western themed show, ‘Home on the Range. Our members played musical instruments, joined in the singing and danced along to popular  country songs such as Rhinestone Cowboy, Islands in the Stream, and many more. After all that excitement, some relaxing tea and biscuits were appreciated.  A fun afternoon was had by all.We look forward to welcoming Flashback Theatre for ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ at our picnic on 7th July.      A.R.

Abba Tribute Night at Oake Manor.Everybody loves a tribute band and this time ’ABBA Sensation’ certainly pulled it out of the bag. The atmosphere was buzzing with lots of laughter, eating, socialising and some good dance moves.  L.D.

Music Session with Rob Lane.This was an addition to our programme, as Rob was touring the area, promoting his new album.His experience of working with Mencap groups soon became apparent and even the shyest of members were taking part before long,singing old favourites like the If You’re Happy and You Know It, the Wheels on the Bus and Old Macdonald while using tambourines, maracas and shakers.There were some brilliant Elvis, Mick Jagger and Tom Jones impersonations and we wondered how Charlie might run his Kangaroo farm!   J.B.

Funding News

We are delighted to announce that White Stuff Taunton, has chosen to support Taunton Mencap as their charity of the year,commencing 1st May. This will involve the staff at White Stuff holding regular fundraising events such as dances and sponsored dog walking with all proceeds coming to Taunton Mencap.We will also receive all the 5 pence's from the sale of carrier bags, which will soon mount up.A 4-month programme of events is currently being drawn up and Taunton Mencap members will be invited to attend where possible.We have asked for events to take place at weekends and preferably not on the same weekend asTauntonMencap events!Selected members of staff will also be attending our activities, so do look out for them and make them welcome.Please go in to the store when you are in town, tell them you are a Taunton Mencap member and meet the very friendly staff.You may even buy some of their lovely clothes!

The Albert Hunt Trust has generously donated £1,000 towards transport costs for the next year, which will enable us to subsidise the cost of coach trips, making them more affordable for members.

We are most grateful to Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Small Grant Scheme for awarding us a grant of £1,000 towards setting up an evening club.This project is now well underway (see page 2).

Somerset West Lottery has granted £200 towards the cost of salaries.Don’t forget that this Lottery is a great way of supporting Taunton Mencap, with 50% of tickets purchased from our page benefitting us.You may even win up to £25,000!Go to

Last and by no means least, we say a big thank you to Julie Court (Joe Davis’ Mum) who has donated 12 lovely red tablecloths for use at parties and other sessions at Six Acres.No more banqueting roll and Sellotape!


Thank you everyone for your response to the new membership system and I am pleased to report that it has been a relatively smooth process.A BIG thank you to our treasurer Chris, who has been sorting out the online payments, while being inundated with cheques from Lyn and I for activities and memberships!Now that the hiatus is over, we will just be processing new memberships throughout the year on a pro rata basis, with all memberships being renewable in February 2019.The white plastic cards, which everyone now should have are permanent and will not be renewed, unless lost or stolen.We are also going to introduce a card for day trips, which will be issued on a temporary basis and will have contact names and numbers.This will replace the outmoded labels.

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