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


Apologies to Grantham Green workers:


We had to change the April dates for Grantham green work after the newsletter went out. The work dates are 6 and 20 April , then 11 and 25 May. Sorry if you missed the session on 6 April because you did not know it was on.


Don't mention the Spring!

I have been predicting Spring since late January and have been resolutely proved wrong, as winter rolls back every few weeks in the shape of the “beast from the East”.


We have never had to cancel or postpone so many events, both Active Citizens and the Chill Out Club have been cancelled twice.


The Chill Out Club Skittles party is now re-scheduled for April 9.

British Inclusive Skating Championships   
April 3rd to 7th, Braehead Glasgow 2018




We are wishing Rebecca the very best of luck for April 3 when she will be performing in the British Inclusive Skating Championships in Glasgow. We will be thinking of you!

Carnival Project 2018
We will be entering the West End Carnival again this year. We are working with a professional Carnival Company, Sunshine International Arts from Brixton in London. Ray Mahabir, who has 35 years of Carnival experience working in Trinidad, Notting Hill, Liverpool and the 2012 Olympics will be leading our group in producing their costumes.


You are invited to join us! You must be able to attend workshops in West End on the following Thursdays: May 10, 17, 24, June 7 and 14, as well as walking with us in the Carnival Parade on Saturday June 16. Workshop sessions are from 10.00 to 14.30 and cost only £5 per workshop.


There are limited places in this project but people who join will have the chance to produce their own sensational costume. Call 023 8048 3471 to leave your name and tel no if you are interested.

Quiz and Curry Night


Tuesday, 24 April, 7.30 to late

The Concorde Club – is your quiz team ready?


For non-Concorde Club members, the price is £12 including your curry.


Maximum of six people per team. Grand Raffle too! This is a fundraising event for the society as well as being a great night out.

Book your tickets at www.theconcordeclub.com/events/quiz-and-curry-april-2018/


Southampton Half Marathon: Sunday - 22 April 2018


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


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


Please think of sponsoring them. Or if you might like to come along to one of the stages on the run to see the event and shout encouragement to our runners.  Riverside Park in Bitterne Park is always a good site as the route skirts around the park and you can have two or more chances to see them if you are a quick mover! Otherwise the start/finish is a great place to be.


Gardening Club – Allotment News Gardening Club – Allotment News

Gardening Club – Allotment News 

It's been a slow start to the season with all the cold, snowy weather.  This puts us behind with planting out our onion sets and first early potatoes but as with all things that grow on the allotment, they will eventually catch up - good weather permitting, of course.

On March 17 it was bitterly cold but Will, Rebecca, Vicki and Stevan were brave enough to come and work on the allotment. I think they deserve a big pat on back. Not forgetting Terry and John.

Work is progressing on our second allotment now with the patio area and footpath marked out. Hopefully progress will be fast and smooth.


Maria, Gardening Co-ordinator



More about our Gardening Club...


Grantham Green daffodils 2018 (Thanks to Mark Ellison for the use of his photo)

Grantham Green


You will remember that there was a mass bulb planting exercise at Grantham Green last November.


The results of this effort are now showing. The daffodils are in the foreground with the crocus just visible behind. Why not visit the site to admire the flowers?

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


Next sessions: 6 and 20 April, then 11 and 25 May.


For the first of our sessions, we have laid 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...


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.

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.

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.

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

  • 9 April– Chill Out Club Skittles Party – COC Members only at the Locomotive Engineers Club
  • 13 and 27 AprilGrantham Green Growers meet at GG 10.00-12noon
  • 24 April - Tuesday evening -The Concorde Club Quiz Night & Curry. Tickets can be booked from The Concorde Club. Open to all!
  • 11 and 25 April – Grantham Green Growers meet at GG 10.00-12noon
  • 9 June – Saturday, Summer BBQ at Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley
  • 16 June – Saturday, West End Carnival. The theme for this year’s Carnival is “The Music of the 60s, 70s and 80s". 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).


April 2018 - Download the latest newsletter here
Newsflash 115 - April 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [654.7 KB]

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


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!


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

Transport Forum

We attended the Adults Health & Care organised Transport Forum specifically looking at issues for people with learning disabilities. This was held at Wells Place on Friday March 23.


Topics presented were customer service training on Uni-link and Bluestar buses as well as the use of Concessionary bus passes and companion passes. No changes to the bus passes were proposed and most of the information presented was known to regular bus users and to holders of a concessionary bus pass.

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!


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.


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?


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