Equal People Mencap

Building skills, confidence and physical fitness

More than three decades ago, a group of parents whose children had learning disabilities decided they wanted them to have more choice and independence. So they set up Equal People Mencap. Today, the charity, based in North Kensington, is there to make sure everyone can access, take part in and contribute to the local and wider community as fully as they wish and live the lives they choose.

Our grant of £20,000 is going towards their Healthy Living programme, as they reopen following the covid-19 lockdowns. The programme aims to build skills, confidence and physical fitness, which are particularly important after a period less physical activity and social interaction.

  • Equal People Mencap was set up 30 years ago by parents who wanted their disabled children to have more choice and independence.
  • The Healthy Living programme will provide a year of classes and activity sessions for 130 adults living in or near Kensington and Chelsea, including people with learning disabilities, autism, complex needs and those experiencing mental health issues.
  • Equal People Mencap works with people from 25 countries, speaking 30 languages.

Healthy food and exercise

There are three key groups of activities. The catering group teaches all aspects of catering including planning and preparing healthy meals, safely using kitchen equipment and serving customers. The group will prepare a healthy two course meal for Equal People Mencap’s drop-in members and will use food grown by the charity’s gardening group.

At the gardening group, trainees learn how to grow and look after herbs, fruit and vegetables grown on the Equal People Mencap allotment. There are also Health and Wellbeing groups including a music and dance group open to all but aimed at people with more complex needs and their carers. They use music and movement to build self-confidence, engagement and interaction. The programme also offers Zumba and yoga classes, in person and online. The groups have been set up because this is what members of the Equal People Mencap community have said they want. For example, people were keen to learn to cook meals for their family and friends; learn catering or gardening skills so they can move on to paid or voluntary work. They also wanted to do more in the community, be seen and heard, and have somewhere safe and welcoming to spend time. 

“I am more confident now and I know I have something to look forward to each week. I am not at home…by myself. I have learned new skills and now I want to do more volunteering and maybe paid work too. Equal People are helping me with that.”

Equal People participant

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