Understanding Learning Disability
UnderstandingLearning Disability

Eastleigh Borough and Romsey Mencap Society


Our aim is to protect and enhance the life chances of children and adults with learning disabilities living in Eastleigh and Romsey.

On this webpage, you can see News, Upcoming Events, For Your Information and What's Been Happening, plus links to our Projects and Services webpages for much more information about what we do...


Our Projects...

  • ETC – Exploring Theatre Craft
  • Chinese Festival


...and Services

  • Active Citizens
  • Flagship Art Club
  • Eastleigh Hot Shots (Basketball Club)
  • Chill Out Club
  • Gardening Club
  • Grantham Green Growers



Grantham Green news – Bulb Planting event

Friday and Saturday, 24 and 25 November at Grantham Green


Come and help us make Grantham Green a riot of colour in the spring. Maria Dowding and others will be on hand to show you what to do.


Tools and bulbs are provided. Just dress appropriately (warm clothes and good footwear) and be prepared to do a bit of work. We will all reap the benefits next spring!

Bulb planting from 10.00 to 13.00 each day.


Last chance to have your say – this has been widely publicised but perhaps you have not commented yet. Please take the chance to do so now, it is important that we have our say.   

Emerging Local Plan

Shaping our Community

Eastleigh Borough Council is currently working on a new Local Plan for the area which will guide the development of housing, infrastructure, employment sites and community facilities. The Borough Council last met in July to hear an update and the ‘Emerging Local Plan’ was noted. At that time, Councillors were informed that work was still ongoing and no decisions could be made until all of the technical work and a public engagement was completed.

The engagement process entitled 'Shaping our Community' will run until 19 November. It provides local people with the opportunity to help the Council gain a better understanding of what they value and feel is most important to them within their community and the new communities which will develop over the coming years.

Update on Community Transport cut by Hampshire County Council.

Hampshire County Council has proposed to end funding of the Community Transport and Dial a Ride as a way of saving more money. Over 9,000 people in Eastleigh signed One Community’s petition against the cuts.


The ACTIVE CITIZENS wrote to the Councillors in our area to protest against the cuts. Thank you to all our readers and members who also wrote letters of protest to their Councillor and to the leader of the Council, Roy Perry.


Councillor Dowden spoke against the proposal in Cabinet. We provided a paper containing the ideas of the ACTIVE CITIZENS and parts of these were presented at the 2nd November Council Meeting. Many Councillors spoke against the cuts. Lib Dems tabled an amendment and urged the Conservatives to go back to national Government to lobby them for more funds.


The cuts are part of Transformation 2019, a plan to save £148 million by April 2019.


There is a proposal that Older Persons bus passes will be provided at a cost of £10 and that older people will be asked to pay a fee of 50pence per journey when using their bus passes. The revenue generated might be used to finance Community Transport. Nothing is decided yet, there will be more discussion until February 2018.


For anyone who wishes to view the full Council meeting the link is below – 4.5 hours long!



The Equality Impact Assessment:



This shows that older people, people with disabilities, younger people and poor people will be disadvantaged by the removal of community transport funding.


Save Dial-A-Ride and Community Transport at One Community

Hampshire County Council has proposed to end funding of the Community Transport and Dial a Ride as a way of saving more money.


This means that many older people will not have access to transport for their essential weekly shopping trips, to see friends and family nor will they be able to access their lunch clubs and other social events. Vulnerable older people who cannot use public transport will become house bound with all the negative effects and extra costs that can bring.


How it will affect our Chill Out Club Group A...

For Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP the loss of community transport could mean a possible end to our Chill Out Club Group A. We provide transport to and from the club in a One Community minibus, we have a volunteer driver, we pay for our escort and the fuel costs of the vehicle which takes people door to door. It would be prohibitively expensive to add in a hire cost for a commercial vehicle. This service is for people who live with older carers, who may not drive at all or who prefer not to drive at night. The end of this service would mean that many adults with learning disabilities never went out at night for a social event, older carers would have one less short break from caring each fortnight, some people would not see their partner at all in the evenings for a night out.

We take our groups out to places that they do not access ordinarily or cannot access by public transport – day trips into the countryside, specialist interest trips to wildlife reserves, art galleries, museums, places of historical interest and into the New Forest – all the things that are community resources, often in public ownership and are special but which are denied to people who do not have private transport.


I wonder how the Councillors who proposed this cut would like to be denied any opportunity to go out at night to see their friends or partners? Would they like to rely on public transport with the limitations that can impose on the range of one’s travel and the activities in which one can participate?


How about walking in the shoes of people with learning disabilities and finding out just how restricted that is already?




One Community has an online petition and a draft letter template that you can use to write to your Councillor, all the County Councillors and to the leader of the Council – Roy Perry in particular. Please take the time to do so even if you would not be directly affected by the cut to Community transport funding now – we will all grow old one day and it would be nice to know that access to transport for the vulnerable would be there for us when we needed it!




The proposal is set to go to cabinet on Monday 16 October and then full council for a formal decision at the beginning of November.  One Community will challenge this proposal, let us support them and fight to retain the funding and great transport service they provide. Please ensure your letters are received by Friday October 13.


Many Councillors are against the proposal, let them know that we are behind them!


Sponsored Walk - The Test Way - October 2017 Andrew, Claire and Lauren Parker



Test Way Sponsored Walk 


Thank you...


Thank you to everyone who sponsored us online or in cash. We will let you know our grand total once the Rotary Club have worked it out.



We know we have raised £1,200 and there is more to come.


Sponsored Walk - The Test Way - October 2017 Beverley, Maria and Michelle


And we all completed the 16 mile walk in good shape!



It was a great day with beautiful weather and we were all delighted to achieve our targets and to get home.



The question is now – what to do next year?

Flagship Art Club


Christmas Tree Project!



Christmas Tree project The design stage - no clues here as to how the tree will be built

Members of Flagship Art Club and other friends have designed and are building a Christmas Tree for the One Community Christmas Tree Festival.


This is a great new idea from One Community and we have been pleased to support it and had great fun making our tree!


Viewing dates...


Drop into Eastleigh Museum from Saturday 25 November 2017 to 6  January 2018 to view all the trees produced by different community groups.


It should be quite a spectacle.


Volunteer for Basketball Club for adults with learning disabilities


What are we looking for?

We are looking for people who love basketball and who can support others to share that passion. We are looking for someone with good communication skills, patience, and a great sense of humour.


This is a good opportunity for anyone who is thinking of doing sports studies, coaching or teaching sport, or for people who have an interest in disability sport.


Our current volunteer has been with the club for three years and is leaving reluctantly, to go to university.


More details on our How you can help page...



Michelle Bonnel, Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP:
email ebr.mencap@ntlworld.com or telephone 023 8048 3471



Vacancy for Chill Out Club Co-ordinator!

Do you have experience of supporting people with learning disabilities? Do you have a desire to support adults with LD to have some social time with their friends?


Our Chill Out Club gives members have the chance to get together with their friends independently of carers in a warm and friendly atmosphere in the centre of Eastleigh. They meet for two hours every Monday evening (except Bank Holidays) to chat, have a drink and share a joke with their friends and our volunteers.


More information on our How you can help page...



On August 11, we officially took over the maintenance of the ornamental shrub beds at Grantham Green. We have a small number of people who are going to learn about this work, getting some hands on experience and expert tuition from Maria, our horticultural co-ordinator.


We are still keen to recruit people who are interested in gardening for this project. If you are free on some Friday mornings, can get to the centre of Eastleigh and could enjoy, a little light gardening and some good conversation, call our office and leave your name and number. 


Grantham Green Growers in action! Grantham Green Growers in action!
Maria Dowding and Mark Ellison looking at the planting plans for Grantham Green Maria Dowding and Mark Ellison looking at the planting plans for Grantham Green
Bulb Planting event at Grantham Green Bulb Planting event at Grantham Green

Gardening Club Winter Meets

The dates are:

  • Saturday 16th December  2017. 11.00am – 12.30pm Xmas session
  • Monday 8th January  2018.  1.00pm -2.30pm and 
  • Saturday 10th February 2018. 11.00am – 12.30pm

Gardening Club members will plan what they are going to grow in their raised beds and the communal allotment spaces in the next season.


This year they will also be contributing to the design of the second allotment.


Exciting! Get involved...


Achievements and Congratulations!


We are delighted to offer congratulations to several people you may know, who have completed something exceptional this month.


To Khristen for having completed his Cubs leader training which has taken many months. It has been a great deal of hard work and fun! He has proved his commitment to the Cubs and should be very proud of this achievement.


To Gary and Kelly who both performed in the Community company at the Nuffield Theatre in the show “The Grapes of Wrath”. They auditioned for the play and attended a long series of rehearsals from early January through to three weeks of performances in March. They gave up evenings and weekends to rehearse. It was great to see them both on stage in this show.


To Will, who ran in the Eastleigh 10km run on Sunday March 19 in spite of only taking up running in January this year!  He has raised a significant amount of money for Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP. Thank you Will!


Will raises a cool thousand!

We are delighted to report after all the cash donations, online sponsorship and gift aid have been collected that Will Wheeler raised £1,019 by completing the Eastleigh 5km run in March on behalf of Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP.


Here is Will looking fresh and confident at the start of his run on March 19.


"My congratulations too to both Will and Terry - they did a really good time, and didn't even have the grace to look tired as they passed the finish line!


"A huge thank you to Will, and to Terry and Michelle for helping him complete the challenge, for the magnificent sum of money raised."


Elaine Fish, Chairman


Will and his Dad, Terry, who ran alongside him, completed the Eastleigh 10km Run in good form on Sunday, 19 March. Huge congratulations to them both and thanks to everyone who has supported them. The donations raised are wonderful to have but are as nothing to Will’s achievement in running the course and finishing before so many other people (and the chicken).


William Wheeler, when he accepted the challenge to complete the Eastleigh 10k, decided that he would like to complete the run to benefit our society.


Will only started running in January this year but he is a fit and active person and has taken to the sport really well. We are delighted that he raised funds for us and proved his athletic ability!


Our Newsletter, Newsflash!, contains information about local and national initiatives and about our activities. Click on the newsletter tab to read previous newsletters.

Please visit the website regularly to read our latest news. If you have any comments on the content, or would like us to include something on the website, please do get in touch with Elaine Fish (Chair).


November 2017- Download the latest newsletter here
Newsflash 110 Nov 2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1'016.5 KB]


You can see a selection of last year's events on the 2016 Activities page!



Dates for your diary...

  • 24 and 25 November
    Bulb planting event at Grantham Green
  • 16 December 2017, 8 January 2018 and Saturday 10 February
    Gardening Club winter meets


To find out more about any of these events call the office, if there is no answer leave your name and number and we will call you back with all the details!


For your information...

New resource about abuse from Hampshire County Council Health and Social Care



This an easy read booklet to explain what abuse is and what to do if it happens to you.


SCAMS Warning!


Hampshire County Council’sTrading Standards have asked us to warn people about some current tricks which are being used on vulnerable people.


  1. Caller claims to be assisting the Police and Ambulance Service.
    They offer to visit the property to carry out a security check, and to see if medical assistance is required. Suspicions are that the callers may be trying to sell home security devices, such as burglar alarms, and may make exaggerated claims about their effectiveness.
  2. Caller claims to be calling from the Citizens Advice Bureau, and offers to help clear outstanding debts.
    The caller may claim that they have been asked to contact the resident by a concerned person. Citizens Advice will not contact residents in this way.


Trading Standards urge any residents receiving such calls not to respond, and not to give out any personal information to unknown persons over the telephone. 


Connect to Support Hampshire



Connect to Support Hampshire is a new countywide online information and advice guide and directory of local services for adults with care and support needs. It provides a one stop shop for adults in Hampshire looking for information, community support and care options.


Usable by anyone; 600+ listings of services near you; directory of care homes and home care agencies; Information and advice regarding care and support


Contacting Adult Services

Tell us what you think...


In our last edition in 2016 we asked you for feedback on using the Contact Centre, HANTS DIRECT. We reported that a specialist group within Contact Centre staff were being trained to assist you with a wider range of issues and that you would not necessarily have immediate or direct access with The Learning Disabilities Team any more. The next stage of the plan is that all members of the Contact Centre are to receive the specialist training so anyone who answers your call will be able to assist you.


We are interested to know if you have called the contact centre, what your experience was - did you have to wait for a long time for the call to answered? Was the query dealt with to your satisfaction? Did your call have to be diverted to the Learning Disabilities Team after all?


Please let us know by email or phone so that we can pass on this feedback to the managers who have planned this change.  It is important for us all that feedback is provided.



Contact Us / Membership

Our members receive a Newsflash nine times a year, either by email or post, and news of all new projects and opportunities. More about becoming a member...


Contact Us:

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Phone: 02380 483471 .. Email: ebr.mencap@ntlworld.com .. Registered Charity Number 263620 .. affiliated to Royal MENCAP Society