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.


Our services are open to anyone with a learning disability who lives in the borough of Eastleigh or in Romsey.

Our constitution limits the offer of our services to people with learning disabilities living in this geographical area. Much of our funding is raised locally for the benefit of local people with learning disabilities.

On this webpage, you can see NewsUpcoming EventsFor 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


Outing to Exbury 2018 Outing to Exbury 2018

Outing to Exbury



Our annual Outing for members this year was to Exbury.



It was of course another of this summer’s hot days but Exbury has some fabulous trees to provide shade for our walk.

Cooling off in the Estate's sprinklers! Cooling off in the Estate's sprinklers!


We all enjoyed the unexpected soaking by the estate’s sprinkler system. We managed to walk around the whole estate and enjoyed a ride on the steam train at the end.


Our thanks to HIWFC Small Grants, Small Items for subsidising this trip and to Exbury Estate staff for their warm welcome.


Rosie Yeomans at the Garden Club Open Day 2018 Rosie Yeomans at the Garden Club Open Day 2018

Gardening Club Open Day

Saturday 18 August 2018

West End Allotments, West End


We were delighted to welcome back Rosie Yeomans again. This year she gave us a short talk on producing compost for our gardens. She also gave advice to a number of visitors who came with questions about their own gardening problems.

Our Committee produced an amazing array of cakes and cookies (some savoury) which were very much admired. We had a plant sale and a few competitions. Congrats to John Chandler for his Caption Competition success. Delighted the Mayor of Eastleigh could attend too!


Society Volunteers needed!

Christmas Coin Collection - Saturday 8 December

We want to recruit some more volunteer collectors for our Christmas Coin Collection on Saturday December 8. If you would like to support the society in this way please contact Michelle on 023 8048 3471 or talk to her in person.

We prefer volunteers to undertake a 2 hour shift and you will be working with a companion. We provide a fundraising tabard which identifies you as one of our collectors. You will meet some lovely people!


The Mayor of Eastleigh’s Appeal

The Mayor of Eastleigh Fundraising Appeal has a calendar of exciting events which we can enjoy.


This is a brief summary:

  • Curry-aoke Night at Steak & Spice in Eastleigh on Tuesday October 9 – this includes a meal from the buffet, singing and dancing. Ticket £15.
  • Raffle at Steam Town Micro-brewery & restaurant, date to be announced.
  • Gospel Phonics – Concert on December 8.
  • Open Day at the Railways Works – date to be announced.

More details will be available on our website when they are confirmed, with dates, venues, prices and how to purchase tickets.


There are also chances to volunteer to help the Mayor raise more money for his appeal. Collectors are needed at a variety of events. Talk to Michelle if you are interested in helping out.


Society Diary Dates

​​​Temporary Closure of Gardening Club and Grantham Green

No Gardening Club on Monday, 17 September, Saturday 22 September or Monday 24 September

No Grantham Green Growers on Friday 21 September

  • 5 and 19 October - Grantham Green Growers meet at GG 10.00 - 12noon
  • 15 October - Chill Out Club Skittles party - members only
  • 10 November - Annual Party and AGM - Cranbury Centre


Please note that we are moving the date of the Flagship Art Club Exhibition to the Spring of 2019

This year the Art Club members were so involved with the West End Carnival project that they had less time to produce pieces for the Exhibition. The Club members will also be involved with the Christmas Tree Festival at St James Church, West End. So we have decided to give members more time to produce work for the next exhibition. Look out for the Spring Exhibition date and venue in future newsletters.


Please call the office and leave your name and number if you have any questions about these events or anything else. We will always call you back.


Transformation of Grantham Green


Our part is complete! These are some of our album pictures showing the changes





Summer 2016 the Active Citizens play petanque on the flat grass surface at Grantham Green. Pauline and Wasif act as referees.




Late spring 2017 the contentious mounds of soil have arrived and tarmac is laid on the path.




Site visit by the Active Citizens to see the mounds and the initial wild flower turves.





Open Day summer 2017. Talking to local residents about the chance of volunteering as a Grantham Green Grower. 





Council representative, Mark Ellison hands over the plans and the ornamental beds to Maria and our first volunteer, Wendy





Community Bulb Planting November 2017






Grantham Green Growers tackle the weeds early 2018.




The stumpery covered in wild flowers, still protected by barriers until they are well established - mid 2018.





Our part of the Grantham Green transformation project was funded by a generous grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery.


Carnival Project 2018 - Prize Giving...

The Theme of the West End Carnival was the Music of the 60s, 70s and 80s and our entry was the Village People. We were presented with the huge cup and certificates as our prizes this year. We came first in the Most Imaginative Category and also first in the Best Overall category. Winners all round, roll on next year!


...the Best Ever!


Our Carnival Project this year was our most successful. The Theme of the West End Carnival was the Music of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

We were fortunate to get a grant to allow us to work with International Carnival artist, Ray Mahabir of Sunshine International Arts from Brixton.


Village People and Friends..."YMCA"


Our entry was “The Village People & friends”.


Eleven people made Village People costumes over a five week period and learned about Carnival and its meaning. More people joined us on the day for the procession and supporter Chris provided music ("YMCA" – what else?) so that we could all sing and dance along to the song.


Many of the crowd were also doing the arm actions for "YMCA" as we went passed which was great to see. It was a good day for us all and we hope we helped to raise lots of money for local charities. 

West End Carnival 2018 - Double First! West End Carnival 2018 - Double First!
West End Carnival 2018 - Village People! West End Carnival 2018 - Village People!

Thank You!!

Thank you to Waitrose and their customers!

Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP was featured as one of the three charities included in their Community Matters campaign in July. Thanks to everyone who voted for us. We were delighted to receive a cheque for £283.


Thank you to Asda for great support this year!!


We have been the recipients of a donation from the Green Token Scheme as shown by the giant cheque given early in the year. We also held a coin collection in store at the end of July.


Check out our collectors’ new fundraiser tabards! Thanks to all who participated in collecting, to the customers who were so generous and supportive and to ASDA staff for their kindness in welcoming us into the store.    

Chill Out Club driver, Rod, is hanging up his keys Chill Out Club driver, Rod, is hanging up his keys

Thank you, Rod, for your safe driving and commitment to our Club!

We were sorry to say farewell to our Chill Out Club driver of more than eleven years, but Rod has decided to hang up his keys.
We hope Rod will enjoy his Monday evenings at home from now on.


Exploring Theatre Craft (7)

Dancing the Death Drill - The Loss of SS Mendi

Exploring Theatre Craft Workshop: Dancing the Death Drill Exploring Theatre Craft Workshop: Dancing the Death Drill
Exploring Theatre Craft - The loss of SS Mendi Exploring Theatre Craft - The loss of SS Mendi


Our partnership with the Nuffield Theatre Southampton came to an end this July with our final event of the project, Exploring Theatre Craft. This project has run since 2016 and was funded by Grants for the Arts.


The fabulous Isango Ensemble...

We were very privileged to have a dance, singing and movement workshop with some of the cast of the show, Dancing the Death Drill. The cast were from Cape Town in South Africa and were members of the ISANGO Ensemble. They are the most fabulous dancers and singers!

We had a walk in Andrews Park behind the theatre after our workshop to cool down, then dinner at The Spitfire pub and we returned to the theatre to see our new friends performing in Dancing the Death Drill. This was a very touching show and has provided lots of discussion topics. 


More about Exploring Theatre Craft...



In August 2017, 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. 


The Active Citizens inspecting the ornamental shrub beds at Grantham Green The Active Citizens inspecting ornamental shrub beds at Grantham Green

Grantham Green Growers
Our fortnightly maintenance sessions on the crescent border at Grantham Green take place on alternate Friday mornings from 10am -12noon.


Our project at Grantham Green is starting to take shape.


We are working alongside Eastleigh Borough Council to improve the park environment for the benefit of all residents and users.



People's Postcode Lottery logo People's Postcode Lottery logo

People’s Postcode Lottery grant - Grantham Green Gardening Project


Our project received £13,281 from the Trust to establish a new gardening group at Grantham Green to maintain the ornamental shrubs throughout the year.


The Gardening group will include local volunteers and people with learning disabilities. The grant also includes costs for a commemorative bench, a stumpery and additional wild flower turves.


We were successful in obtaining a grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery last year to fund the work of the Grantham Green Growers for a year as well as providing additional wild flower turves, a bench and a stumpery. The stumpery has arrived although it is still behind the barriers to allow the young plants to get established, more news on that in future issues.

You are welcome to join us if you are interested in becoming part of our team!

Maria, Gardening Co-ordinator


More about Grantham Green Growers...


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
Finishers for Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP raise double their target sum! Thanks to Michelle Wheeler for the photo

Southampton Half Marathon: Sunday, 22 April 2018 - Great Success

Congratulations and thanks to Terry, Harry and Duarte. Well done all! 


Our Vice Chair, Terry Wheeler (father of Will) ran the Southampton Half Marathon with son Harry and his friend Duarte on Sunday April 22 to support the society.

Here they are after the run looking fresh as daisies. The guys raised £498 on the day from sponsorship. Thanks to you if you were one of their sponsors!


Southampton half marathon 2018 Harry and Duarte
Southampton half marathon 2018 Terry Wheeler and Will

Art at the Heart – Access Forum
Following our trip to the NST City Theatre we were invited to attend the Art at the Heart Forum and give our opinions about the accessibility of art venues and events to representatives from the Nuffield, City Eye, John Hansard Gallery and the Turner Sims Concert Hall. Two members attended and gave their views. Thanks to Khristen and Abbie for their contributions.


Shadow Factory – ETC Event Six

On 21 February, 26 people went to the new NST City Theatre in Southampton to see the new play, Shadow Factory.


Written by local playwright, Howard Brenton, the play is about the covert construction of the Spitfire in World War II after the Super Marine Factory at Woolston had been bombed.


Our event included a back stage and theatre tour, exhibition about the show, an hilarious drama workshop, pub dinner at The Spitfire pub nearby and the evening show.


Members loved the warm welcome from staff who they know well now. They were impressed by the design of the new theatre and creative spaces. Definitely a night for us to remember.


More about Exploring Theatre Craft...


Shadow Factory poster ETC Event Six - Shadow Factory
Spitfire ETC Event Six - Shadow Factory, Spitfire


Donation from Waitrose, Chandlers Ford Jacqui receiving donation from Waitrose, Chandlers Ford

Donation from Waitrose Chandlers Ford

We were very grateful to receive a donation from the Waitrose Store at Chandlers Ford.


Here is long standing Committee member Jacqui Rowley receiving the cheque from Waitrose employee, Emily Stenlake.


Many thanks to the people of Chandlers Ford for voting for us.

Donation from Leckford Committee member Beverley and Lizz Dalglish, Farm Shop Manager

Donation from Leckford


We were very grateful to receive a donation of £200 from the Leckford Farm Shop.


Here is Committee member, Beverley (who does not feature in the newsletter often) receiving the cheque from manager Lizz Daglish.

Funding News...
We are very fortunate to have this kind of support from our community.


The society has no core funding apart from the annual Membership subscriptions which amount to about £500 each year.  People are often amazed that we are not funded by “the government” or “the council”. We are not, though individual County councillors do support us through their small grants schemes and some parishes where we work offer us a great deal of support – West End and HEWEB for example.


We have also received a regular grant of £500 from Eastleigh Borough Council towards our running costs and insurance for many years. Although all our activities attract a charge or “subs”, these do not even begin to cover actual costs. Clubs which are irregularly attended also become less viable and more likely to close.


If you have any ideas where we might find more funds, business where we might be nominated  or you want to undertake a sponsored challenge to assist us – please get in contact with Michelle on 023 8048 347. All ideas are welcome.

Very Sad News...


Michele Harman

We are sorry to announce the sudden death of Thomas’s mother, Michele Harman in April. Michele joined us for many of the theatre performances in our project, Limelight Local from 2013 onwards and even acted on stage with us at The Berry Theatre in 2015. Michele was a member of the Gardening Club and the Flagship Art Club which she attended to support Thomas. She loved our parties and trips out. Our members will miss her, and her lively conversation, a great deal.


David Scullard and Roy Stokes

It was with great regret that we learnt of the death of David Scullard. He was a long time member of the society and was one of the very first ACTIVE CITIZENS.  We have reminisced about David’s participation in our work, his sense of humour and his mischievous attitude. The visit we made to the House of Commons with David will not be forgotten!


Roy Stokes also passed away at the beginning of the year. Roy was one of our first and most enthusiastic Walking Group members. He was great company on a walk. Roy and his wife Jean were both active and ardent about providing the right services for people with learning disabilities. Roy’s refusal to accept compromise in this area was admired.

Advertising Events...

Connect to Support (part of Health & Social Care at Hampshire County Council) have now set up a page called LD Events at www.connecttosupporthampshire.org.uk/LDevents
They want to make this page the main hub for event info. Flyers are fine as they can upload the pdf and link to it.

To advertise your event on Connect to Support, please email the team at onnectsupport@hants.gov.uk 

Obviously this will be a good place to start if you are looking for new activities or something to do one weekend.


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).


September 2018 - Download the latest newsletter here
Newsflash 120 - September 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.7 MB]

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


Your Health


Weight watchers – what is your experience?


Weight Watchers are currently the service that Hampshire County Council commission to provide free weight loss support for those with a BMI over 30. The Strategic Health Facilitators are starting a project about how to make Weight Watchers (WW) more accessible for people with learning disabilities.


The project will include the WW coaches having learning disability awareness training and the materials they use being in easy read format. 


The Facilitators want to know if there is demand for WW meetings to be held in places that people with learning disabilities may find more supportive such as day services. Also to find out if there are any service users who have had experience of using WW and how it was for them. Equally if anyone has wanted to attend WW but has not and why this was? This information could be really useful in making sure people can access the WW service.


Replies please to amy.george@southernhealth.nhs.uk
Amy George, Strategic Health Facilitator, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust


Annual Health Checks - information available!


An Annual Health check is available and recommended for anyone who has a learning disability. All the GP surgeries in our area have agreed to offer annual Health checks. GPs are paid to provide them.

If you would like information about what the Annual Health Check should include, there are leaflets to answer your questions. We can send you these leaflets by email if you send us an email requesting them. ebr.mencap@ntlworld.com

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?

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!

For your information...

Hampshire County Council CONSULTATION and some good news...

Good news first...

The County Council has taken the decision to protect the core funding  this year, which it provides to frontline community transport services (Dial-a-Ride, Call and Go and Minibus Group Hire Schemes) but it also wants to look at how these services can become more financially sustainable in future. The Consultation below is important for this.


For our society, this means the Chill Out Club Group A minibus service is secure and outings that we organise, using the One Community minibus, will continue to be offered.


Public Consultation...


As part of the Hampshire County council “Transformation to 2019” programme a public consultation has been launched in relation to street lighting, supported passenger transport services and the concessionary travel scheme. This more detailed consultation follows on from the main “Serving Hampshire – Balancing the Budget” consultation carried out last year (to which only 3000 people responded) and seeks views from interested parties and the wider public on the options for delivering savings in these services.
The consultation closes at midnight on 5 August 2018. The questionnaire can either be completed online or is available for download on the consultation website: www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations/publictransportandstreetlighting


With 89% of bus journeys being provided on a commercial basis, not controlled or funded by the County Council, most public bus services will be outside the scope of this review.

A list of the public bus and ferry services subsidised by Hampshire County Council, which are within the scope of this review, is available on the consultation website.

This consultation only includes those public bus services subsidised by Hampshire County Council, not those subsidised by some district councils.


It is worth noting that the Council’s policy remains; that any community which currently has a transport service should still retain an essential transport link in the future. We would welcome responses from people and organisations.


More information...

For more information contact environment.bus.review@hants.gov.uk or telephone 01962 846785. 


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 regular copy of our newsletter,Newsflash, 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