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


Looking forward to Spring!

We have admired the snowdrops, seen the daffodils and are now ready for the weather to improve. Roll on the spring!


The Gardening Club and Grantham Green Growers are getting ready and looking forward to a great season. Will you be joining them this year? You would be very welcome!


Gardening Club – Allotment News Gardening Club – Allotment News

Gardening Club – Allotment News 

It's not long to go now before we get together for the first of our allotment sessions of the season.  (Monday, March 12th, 1.00-4.00pm and Saturday, March 17th 10.00am - 1.00pm.)


Lots of exciting work about to begin. We will be working on a new project for our second allotment this year. The project is to enable wheelchair users access to the allotment. This will involve levelling the ground and making a new pathway and patio area. We are grateful to Community Payback volunteers for their offer to help us out. They have skilled workers coming in to do a lot of the heavy work for us soon.


Please watch this space for further updates on the progress of this new project.

More about our Gardening Club...


Grantham Green Growers
We are looking forward to beginning the first of our fortnightly maintenance sessions on the crescent border at Grantham Green on March 2nd and 16th. These are Friday mornings from 10am -12noon.  For the first of our sessions, we will be laying down some bark chippings around the shrubs to help keep the moisture in and hopefully keep the weeds down too.


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...


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.

Sad News...


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.

Charity Quiz and Curry Night at the Concorde Club on Tuesday 24 April


Go to the Concorde Club website for Event details and to book.


Concorde Club members £10, and Concorde Club non members £12, this includes a delicious curry.


Big Raffle with great prizes.


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.

Society Diary Dates


  • 21 February – Wednesday, to see the new play, Shadow Factory – ETC Event 6 at NST City. The event includes a back stage and theatre tour, drama workshop, pub dinner and evening show.
  • Monday 12 March Gardening Club re-opens at West End Allotments
  • 19 March – Chill Out Club Skittles Party – Both groups at the Locomotive Engineers Club
  • 9 June – Saturday, Summer BBQ at Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley
  • Saturday 16 June – West End Carnival.
    The theme for this year’s Carnival is “The Music of the 60s, 70s and 80s". If you are interested in joining us – call if you want to join us.


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.


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).


February 2018 - Download the latest newsletter here
Newsflash 113 - February 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [344.9 KB]
Christmas Lunch at Goodies Christmas Lunch at Goodies

Christmas Lunch at Goodies

Stars and Bars Brewery treated members of the Chill Out Club to a complimentary Christmas lunch on Tuesday, December 19. The majority of our regular members were able to attend and we thoroughly enjoyed the delicious lunch provided.


Many thanks to Angela, Aaron and Angie for nominating us and to the Brewery for their kindness and generosity!

The End of the Year Club

We ran the Club for two days between Christmas and New Year as we have heard that people with learning disabilities have nothing to do in the days between the two holidays. From our experience last year, it would seem to be an urban myth!

Many thanks to staff from DICE and Launch Pad who supported the Club. We played games, had discussions and made loads of great art work. Those people who did attend said they really enjoyed themselves. One person commented “I like it here, this is like a really, really good day service”.


Review of 2017 – what happened to us in 2017...

Art work by participants and staff at The End of the Year Club


Review of 2017 Review of 2017
End of Year Club 2017 Art Work End of Year Club 2017 Art Work

Our Flagship Art Club Tree


One Community are holding a Christmas Tree Festival until 6  January 2018 at Eastleigh Museum. 

The trees have been made by many community groups. It is a wonderful showcase of creativity from our area. 


Why not drop in to see the trees, including our Flagship Art Club tree, as a break from your Christmas shopping. They make a great cup of coffee there!


We know how to party!
On November 11 we held our Annual General Meeting and party at the Cranbury Centre. Members enjoyed a fish and chip supper, played games and were challenged by our quiz. We also danced the night away.

This is always a great chance to meet others from the area. All are welcome. If you missed it this year, make sure you come to our other social events in 2018.


Hampshire Carers

The County Council is asking for the views of carers, voluntary organisations and any other interested individuals and organisations about their vision for supporting carers in Hampshire from 2018 to 2023, which is set out in their draft Strategy.


It can be found on the Hampshire County Council consultation webpages:

www.hants.gov.uk/consultations.  Follow the link to the ‘Hampshire Joint Carers Strategy’.


You can give your feedback via the online questionnaire until 28 February 2018.

Carnival 2017 Harry Potter Crew Carnival 2017 Harry Potter Crew

Carnival Triumph!

You may remember our Harry Potter themed group which entered the West End Carnival in June this year. At a recent Award Ceremony the participants received awards for their achievements. Here are some of the Harry Potter Crew with their cup and Certificate. We intend to join in again next year and are thinking about our costumes already.

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?

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



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

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...

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