February 2018 News

Hello Everyone,

I am back from my travels to the snowy North of Scotland.  Very beautiful, but oh so cold! Here we are at the start of another year and we are looking forward to our 2018 programme, which includes lots of new activities.  It is already well underway and I enjoyed walking into Six Acres Hall and seeing lots of members showing their moves at the Dance Session.  I thought I had walked on to the set of Strictly!  There is so much on offer this Spring, ranging from Abba and Easter Eggs to the Wookey Hole!  Something for all tastes and all budgets.

With the exception of our Honorary Members and those who have joined in the last two months, all memberships are up for renewal this month.  We are trying to streamline the process and cut down on the time it takes to gather subscriptions. 

2018 looks like it will be a year of transition for Taunton Mencap.  Angela Conway will be standing down as Chair at Easter and we thank her for all her hard work over the last 7 years and wish her and Graham all the best in this new phase of their lives.  We will miss you, Angela!  However, it is great to have some new blood on the Committee as well as a few new members.

Treasurer Chris and wife Denise completed their ‘Running Streak’ on 31st December, a mile each a day for every day of 2017, and raising the best part of £1,000  for group funds.  Well done, Chris and Denise!

The Taunton Mencap Caravan will be opening for another season next month.  The Committee has decided to retain this valuable resource for the time being, but it will not be available for ever, so please make use of it while you can!  Lots of members are enjoying the annual holiday to Torquay these days, but the Caravan is available to families or carers in need of a relaxing break.  The ‘no dogs’ rule is being relaxed a little.



A warm welcome is extended to all our new members who have joined Taunton Mencap recently and we look forward to seeing you all at forthcoming events.  We are also very pleased to welcome Alison Rogers and Moira Brown on to the Committee and look forward to working with them in the future.

New Chair Needed

As Angela will be leaving us at Easter, we are in need of a new Leader!  Other Committee members are already fully, well…. committed, and we thank them for the time they give to Taunton Mencap.  The role of the Chair needn’t be that onerous.  After all, the art of all leadership is delegation! The Chair runs the committee meetings, which number approximately 7 per year, including the A.G.M., and leads some of the activities.   If you, or  perhaps someone you know who has the relevant experience, would like to take over the helm, please contact Judith.

Made It!

Chris and Denise Poole reached their goal of running one mile a day for every day in 2017 and what a fantastic effort! I doubt that most of us even manage to walk a mile every day!  The plucky pair have raised well over £900 for Taunton Mencap and their tireless energy never ceases to amaze us!  Chris did 378 runs and a total of 1,832 miles, while Denise completed 1,145 miles over 365 runs. I am sure I am speaking for the whole membership when I say ‘Thank you so much, Chris and Denise’ .  There is still time to donate on Chris’s Virgin Money Giving page.

Spreading the Word

We were pleased to be invited by our friends at My Day to their Christmas Craft Fair in early December.  It was great to be part of this event and see all the crafts made by service users on sale,  meet some potential new members and tell them about the activities Taunton Mencap has on offer for its members.  We are always happy to attend events such as this, so please get in touch if you would like us to stage a display or give a short talk to any other organisation you are associated with.

Winter Warmers 

Christmas Craft Session.
The 2017 Session was a real group effort!  Pauline Green and Lynne Nash had most of the creative input and Judith and Lyn were then able to put the ideas into action with a flourish of glue and glitter, with valuable assistance from Lynne, Roger, Charlie and Sandra.  Everybody managed to make a selection of Christmas cards, tree decorations and even their own Christmas trees!      J.B.

Christmas Party.
 As usual, this event was well attended and a good time was had by all.  The Beverley Brothers entertained us all with a selection of lively music which had everyone up and dancing, the ‘kitchen team’ kept the food coming and Father Christmas, ably assisted by his elves, made sure no-one went without a gift.  Thanks again to Waitrose Wellington shoppers for facilitating the gifts.  So much work and preparation goes into these parties and they could not go ahead without our very small band of volunteers who work very hard to make sure members have a good time.  If you or someone you know could come and help out at such events, we would love to hear from you.            J.B.

Dance Session
We needed the heating on for a cold January afternoon, but by the time Martyn and Mala had finished teaching everyone how to Salsa, we were all very warm!  It was great to come in and find so many engaged in dancing and moving to those infectious rhythms.  There were lots of smiles and happy faces and we are so grateful to Martyn and Mala, who gave their time freely.  They want to come back again and we say ‘yes, please’!  After the dancing we had a Scottish-themed tea, which seemed to go down well, especially those Tunnocks Tea Cakes!           J.B.

Caravan Open for Bookings

The Taunton Mencap Caravan at Seatown in Dorset will be opening for 2018 holidays in March and David Brooks-Daw is now taking bookings.  The Committee has taken the decision to allow holidaymakers to bring one small dog at a cost of £20 per week by arrangement with David.  If you are a dog owner, please remember never to leave  you pet in the Caravan unattended, as this was the reason that we stopped allowing dogs.

The 2018 tariff remains unchanged, thereby providing a really excellent value-for-money holiday for members, families and carers. The cost of a week’s holiday starts from only £210, rising to £260 in the high summer. Bookings for weekends and part-weeks can also usually be accommodated.

The Caravan is ideally situated for walks along the famous Jurassic coast and is a stone’s throw from the beach and the popular Anchor Inn. The Caravan sleeps up to six people with one en-suite double room, a twin room and bathroom with bath and shower.  The living room has a sofa bed and the kitchen has all modern facilities.  Electricity is included in the rent and there is full central heating to make the Caravan very cosy on cooler evenings.  A very pleasant veranda, complete with garden furniture, make the perfect location for some well-earned ‘sundowners’ at the end of the day.  While there is no on-site entertainment, the Caravan benefits from use of the Highlands End Leisure Club, which has a swimming pool.

You can contact David on 01823 252718 or email: dbrooksdaw@gmail.com

Have Your Say at the NHS

Mencap is in the process of working with the NHS to ensure that people with learning disabilities get the support they need at their G.P.’s surgery or at  hospital. Health services are prepared to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to patients’ records to ensure that individuals receive the support they need, i.e. more time for appointments, easy read information, accommodating anxieties such as finding it difficult to wait, needle phobias etc. This information would be seen by all health care providers, including  G.P.s, doctors and nurses. This survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/L8MSCJ6 or Judith can email you a copy.  Please take the time to support those you care for to complete this survey and return it to Rachel Ashcroft at Mencap—Rachel.Ashcroft@mencap.org.uk by 19th February. 

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  www.somersetwestlottery.co.uk/support/taunton-menc...