Understanding Learning Disability
UnderstandingLearning Disability

Eastleigh Borough and Romsey Mencap Society

Lantern Procession - October 2019 Lantern Procession - October 2019

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, but before accessing any of our services, you do need to talk to someone to be sure they are appropriate for you.


Please call the office and leave your name and number. We will always call you back.


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.

Our Home page...


  • News items and Upcoming Events,
  • Links to our Services and Projects - much more about what we do, 
  • What's been happening - our recent activities, and 
  • Keeping you informed - information from Hampshire County Council and outside agencies

Plus, this year...

The Mayor's Charities Appeal 2019/2020 and the Volunteering Crew...Keep up to date with our Mayor's Charities Appeal 2010-2020 news page, including


The New Year and the new decade are here!


Eastleigh Hot Shots January 2020 Eastleigh Hot Shots January 2020

What are your New Year Resolutions?

It is the time of year to consider your future personal plans, what improvements you might want to make in your life or what you want to do differently. Maybe this is the time to join one of our clubs that you have not tried before!



We were delighted to find that our player numbers at the first Eastleigh Hot Shots (basketball club) session in January were nearly doubled. This is a brilliant opportunity to get some exercise, improve your movement and co-ordination whilst having fun.


The sessions are held on alternate Saturdays, starting at 10.00am for an hour. All abilities are welcome and we love absolute beginners! Just wear loose clothes, trainers and bring a water bottle and subs (£4). We guarantee a good time.

Gardening Club allotment January 2020 Gardening Club allotment January 2020

Maria is now back at our Gardening Club!


On Saturday February 15 she will be hosting the Gardening Club Winter Meeting from 11.00 to 12.30 at Hilldene Community Centre.


If you think this is the year that you want to learn about gardening and growing your own food why not come along? This is their final Winter meeting before the season opens on site at the allotments on Saturday morning, March 14 at 10.00am


Information on all our clubs can be found at www.ebrmencap.org.uk

The Mayor's Appeal - Upcoming Events...

  • February 25 – Quiz & curry night at the Concorde Club, book through the Concorde Club £12 per person. Maximum of 6 people in a team. www.theconcordeclub.com  Go to What’s on, then Quiz nights, there is a “book tickets” button. 
  • March 21 - Spitfires Band Concert at the Dovetail Centre in Chandlers Ford - Tickets £8 
  • March 22 – Sunday Hendy Eastleigh 10K Road Race. We are looking for runners who can also raise sponsorship!

There are other events in the pipeline before the end of the Mayor’s Term in mid May, more news to follow.


The Mayor's Charities Appeal 2019-2020

Keep up to date with our Mayor's Charities Appeal news page, including... 

Christmas at Eastleigh

Christmas lights switch on


On November 16, a group from our Volunteering Crew met up in the evening to join the Parade before the Christmas lights were switched on, we were collecting for the Mayor of Eastleigh’s Charities Appeal. We had lights on our buckets and scarves! The crowd gave the parade a great welcome and we really enjoyed the fireworks.


Eastleigh BID is to be congratulated for getting so many people, young and old into the centre of Eastleigh for the event. Our Committee and volunteers ran a fundraising stall during the day time and enjoyed meeting many local people and encouraging children to make rainbow coloured Christmas characters.

Fund Raising News...

Chandlers Ford Charities Fayre 2019 Chandlers Ford Charities Fayre 2019, our stall!

Chandlers Ford Charities Fayre


Our stall at the Annual Charities Fayre in Chandlers Ford was the best ever. Elaine Fish worked with Jacqui and Peter Rowley selling donated gifts from our supporters. They reported large crowds and depleted stock at the end of the morning.

We are grateful to them for continuing to run the stall each year as well as promoting our society in Chandlers Ford. Thanks to our donors too who provide stock each year.


Green Token Scheme presentation, John Lewis Partnership Store Green Token Scheme presentation, John Lewis Partnership Store

Green Token Scheme - John Lewis

On November 28 we were invited to “The Place to Eat”, the café on the top floor in the John Lewis Partnership Store in West Quay, to receive a big cheque from their Community Matters Green Token scheme. As you can see it was a big cheque for a big amount! £600 is a really large donation for us, thank you John Lewis Partners for running such a great scheme to support local charities.

We are grateful to everyone who voted for us and for the nomination in the first place.  


New funding opportunities...

Please be aware that many local funders are reducing the amounts that they give or cutting out grants altogether, so we have to look for new funding opportunities all the time. Feel free to nominate us in supermarkets or elsewhere, if you value our services.


Many thanks...

Thank you to all our Committee, staff and volunteers for their fundraising efforts, whether they have been collecting for our society or for the Mayor’s Appeal, they have really put in the hours and we appreciate their commitment and enthusiasm. All of our fundraising is approached with a positive spirit!

AGM and Annual Party - November 9, 2019

But it is not all hard work, we know how to party!


We held our AGM and annual party at the Cranbury Centre. The Annual Report and Treasurers Report were presented and anyone who requires a copy has only to request one, these can be sent by email or hard copy.


We had a fish and chip supper, a picture quiz and lots of dancing. We finally shut our DJ down at 10.30pm. No prizes for guessing which song these members are dancing to!


Annual Party 2019 Annual Party 2019

Correction to our last newsletter...
The working party who came to work at the Gardening Club allotments in early October were from Network Rail, based at Eastleigh Works. Not as stated in the October newsletter, from “Eastleigh Works”, who have hosted us in the past.

Future Caring Research and Action

New Forest MENCAP has recently commissioned a research project entitled “Looming crisis for older family carers of people with learning disabilities”. They hosted a launch event in Brockenhurst to promote the research which is of relevance to every carer of a person with a learning disability. The event was chaired by Baroness Jolly, the Lords Whip at the Department of Health and the research was completed by Rachel Forrester-Jones, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath. There was a lively discussion after the presentation with the panel, carers in the room and representatives from Adult Health & Care.

New Forest MENCAP will be organising a workshop for parents and carers to work on suggestions and fixes to current issues regarding local authority services and support. The outcomes will be presented to HCC, and any further information will be disseminated back.  In the meantime, if you have suggestions for doing things differently for your loved ones with learning disabilities, do contact:
Jackie Lillywhite, Development Officer, New Forest MENCAP
development@newforestmencap.org  Tel: 01425 621893

Lantern making Lantern making

Lantern Procession, 19 October 2019


Members of the Flagship Art Club were joined by some friends to produce the lanterns. Everyone made a small individual lantern. The larger lanterns were a collaborative effort made by groups of members. 

We used wet willow to make the handles and the framework for the larger lanterns and covered them with various colours of tissue paper. Simple but very effective!

We paraded through the streets of Eastleigh with other lantern holding groups. We ended up at the bandstand, at dusk on Saturday evening accompanied by a Samba band. The Mayor of Eastleigh was there to welcome everyone.

Lantern Procession - 20 October 2019 Lantern Procession - 20 October 2019


The project was organised by Caroline Rackham, our Art Club tutor who had been running lantern making workshops throughout the borough in schools and clubs for the past few weeks. This was an event for all generations.


We met many friends who had come to see the spectacle. Some of us carried collection buckets for the Mayor of Eastleigh’s Charities Appeal. This is the first time this event has occurred in Eastleigh and we thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.

Subscriptions up! Subscriptions up!

Subscriptions rising...


A review of our finances for the AGM has revealed that it is time we raised our subscriptions for different clubs.


Subs do not even begin to cover our costs in providing these clubs and services. We make up the shortfall by fundraising through writing grant applications, holding coin collections and other fundraising events. Our fees are significantly cheaper than many other organisations providing similar services.

  • The CHILLOUT CLUB will rise from £2.50 to £3.00
  • Flagship Art Club from £5.00 to £6.00
  • ACTIVE CITIZENS from £6.00 to £7.50
  • Eastleigh Hot Shots Basketball Club from £3.50 to £4.00

Gardening Club subs remains the same.


The new Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Darshan Mann admires the “past Mayor’s badge” of outgoing Mayor, Councillor Bruce Tennent on May 9 at the Official Mayor Making. The new Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Darshan Mann admires the “past Mayor’s badge” of outgoing Mayor, Councillor Bruce Tennent on May 9 at the Official Mayor Making.

Mayor Making - A Special Honour...

We are proud to announce that your society has been chosen by the new Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Darshan Mann to be one of three charities benefiting from his Charities Appeal this year May 2019 - May 2020.


We hope that all our members, friends and supporters get involved in enjoying functions, volunteering and raising funds. This really is a win-win situation for us: more profile for people with learning disabilities being active members of their community and more funds for all three chosen charities.



Society Diary Dates

First Sessions in 2020:  (usual times, usual places)

  • January 6 - COC Group A
  • January 9 - Flagship Art Club
  • January 13 - COC Group B
  • January 14 - ACTIVE CITIZENS
  • February 15Gardening Club Winter Meet with Maria
    Saturday morning 11.00am - 12.30pm.
  • May 23 Saturday – Flagship Art Club Annual Exhibition at Hilldene Community Centre. Community Open Art Competition!
  • June 2 Tuesday The Concorde Club Quiz and Curry night for our society. £12 per person. Book through the Concorde Club direct.
  • June 13 Saturday - West End Carnival. Flagship Art Club and friends will be entering the Carnival again. If you wish to take part and join the club for this project in March, April and May, please leave a message at the office.


Please call the office and leave your name and number if you have any questions about our events or anything else. We will always call you back.  Our Office number : 023 8048 3471

Eastleigh Hot Shots Basketball Club!

"A big Thank You to Magic Little Grants which has provided a grant to employ our basketball coach for one year. Magic Little Grants are administered by Localgiving and the Postcode Community Trust"


Michelle, May 2019

Waitrose Community Matters 
We have been chosen as one of three charities in the green token scheme this August at Leckford Farm Shop & Café.

Please vote for us with your green tokens if you go to the Water Gardens at Leckford this summer.

Hampshire Advocacy Services

Hampshire County Council, NHS England and the Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups commission a range of advocacy services for children and adults across Hampshire. The current contract ends on 31 March 2020. They are seeking feedback on these services to inform the Service Specification for the new contract to begin from 01 April 2020.


They are seeking feedback from:

  • People who have used advocacy services within Hampshire
  • Carers/family or friends of those who have used advocacy
  • Staff in partner agencies who have worked or are working with advocates supporting people using their services
  • Members of the public with an interest in advocacy services
  • Professionals with an interest in advocacy services

To have your say go to: https://healthhampshirecc.researchfeedback.net/s.asp?k=156268863153


Hampshire County Council 
Balancing the Budget consultation – closes July 17


By April 2021 the Council expect an £80 million budget shortfall, it is asking residents what action they want taken: more cuts, increasing Council tax, introducing charges, putting pressure on Government…? 

Have your say: https://www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations/balancing-the-budget


Just when you thought austerity was over!

Here comes T21 (Transformation to 2021) – the latest round of savings from Hampshire County Council.

How much must be saved this time? More importantly, what will be left?

Orchard Close Respite Unit

Another reprieve and another Consultation
Following a previous public consultation on proposals to close one of the County Council’s respite services, Orchard Close, the decision has now been made to continue to run the service, while at the same time looking at other ways to reduce the overall running costs of providing respite support for adults in Hampshire.

HCC are proposing two ways to do this. These are by:

  • Reducing the number of beds at Orchard Close from 13 to 10. This would ensure that current users of the service would continue to have access to the respite support they need, while at the same time reducing the number of occasions that the respite beds were empty
  • Opening up the County Council’s three other adult respite services - Hindson House, Jacob’s Lodge and Newcroft - for use by other local authorities and the NHS.  While Hampshire County Council customers would be prioritised, any spare capacity would be used by key partner organisations, and we would charge them for the beds they use.

If adopted, these proposals could save the County Council an estimated £285,000 per year while enabling them to continue to operate a respite service at Orchard Close, as well as at Hindson House, Jacob’s Lodge and Newcroft.


The public consultation runs from Monday 16 Dec 2019 and closes at midnight on Sunday 9 Feb 2020.

People can take part by completing the response form online at

If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Sillince Tele: 01962 847267, or
Email: AS.Consultation@hants.gov.uk

We hope that the responses to this Second Consultation will be transmitted to the Councillors who make decisions about the future of Orchard Close. Had it not been for the users of Orchard Close and their carers, making a Deputation to the Council (at the eleventh hour) when the decision to close was being voted upon, the Unit would certainly have been closed down. Councillors said that they were not aware of the arguments for keeping the Unit open, even though many people had taken the time to respond at length to the first consultation.


Many people are jaded by consultations and feel that those who design them, never read them nor take notice of what is said in them.

Don’t let that stop you having your say!


Let us hope that this time the people who are called upon to make decisions about Orchard Close and its continued use by adults with Learning Disabilities, will be fully informed about different opinions and options suggested.


The pressure group that succeeded in changing the Council’s mind is to be transformed into a “Friends of Orchard Close” group. The unit’s continued existence is largely due to the energy and pressure exerted by this group of people.


The operation of Orchard Close is included within the T21 Council savings plan, that means it is secure until the end of 2021.

To read more about Orchard Close, visit our For your Information page...

Carers’ Group
West Hampshire Community Learning Disability Service (part of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust) is setting up a Carers’ Group to help improve the service provided by the Health Service to adults with a learning disability in our area.


They wish to develop their service and understand the importance of hearing carers’ views. The group is for informal carers (family/legal guardians). If you are interested in being in the group or receiving their minutes or newsletter contact the facilitators: Rachel Johnson or Martin Johnson. Email: hp-tr.whclds@nhs.net


Meetings for 2019

  • April 26 Friday 10-12 at Hampshire House, Eastleigh
  • July 19 Friday 10-12 at Totton Hub, Totton
  • October 17 Thursday 10-12 at Hampshire House, Eastleigh.  


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).

January 2020 - Download the latest newsletter here
Newsletter 136 - January 2020.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [650.3 KB]

Contact Us/Membership

New members...

If you have enjoyed this newsletter or any of our services and want to join us, please contact Michelle on the office number or ask her about membership. There are real advantages to being an Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP member.

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