Slough Mencap was founded in 1952. Just five families set it up, as they wanted their children to be recognised as people in their own right. The children were not even entitled to go to school, Slough Mencap was involved in getting that changed.
Since then so many things have taken place, even to the extent Slough Mencap now own their own building.
How many of you remember the first independent home for our members it was The Cherries. This site is now called Sir Robert Mews; the actual building no longer exists. (Insert picture) The first stone was laid.
As Slough Mencap became more established, the needs and wishes of its members came to the fore. A sports and leisure club was established, and the Slough Mencap Employment Support Scheme (SMESS) was set up to help adults with learning disabilities to find paid work. The scheme was such a success that the local authority asked if SMESS could be extended to help people with Mental Health Problems.
Having secured jobs, members started to ask for support with other areas of their lives, so Mencap launched ‘People in Partnership’ an advocacy service for people with learning disabilities.
As members gained a voice it was clear that there were things about Slough Mencap’s clubs and services which they wanted to change. A Users Committee was set up to allow them to make decisions about the organization, and take some responsibility for its work. Out of this came a user group called United Voices which has become a fledgling independent organization which facilitates self and peer advocacy.
In 1992 Slough Mencap moved from its then headquarters – the Friendly Club in Elliman Avenue, Slough – to Hawker Hall.
Our Jubilee Year
2002 was Slough Mencap’s 50th Anniversary Year, and supporters and members made the most of the opportunity to celebrate everything the organization has achieved, and raise funds and public awareness to ensure its continued success. A launch event for the organization’s friends and supporters in January, a summer party for members on a jubilee theme and a dinner dance finale with fashion show n November kept the momentum going throughout the year.
Of course, Mencap members weren’t the only people celebrating 50 years of hard work in 2002. The organization was well represented at the Queen’s visit to Slough on the 3rd June, 25 years to the day after visiting the town for her Silver Jubilee. The Slough Mencap Chairman, Sandra Driver, and member Katie Hazel were introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh, and told him about some of the valuable work the valuable work the organisation has done in the last 50 years.
The Phoenix Rises
In 2004 we moved from Hawker Hall to our new home in a different part of Langley. The Phoenix Centre gave us a much larger space in which to operate. We were able to provide many more activities for our members and our Wednesday and Thursday Clubs went from strength to strength. We are proud and honoured to have Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme students and Eton College Boys volunteer each year. Participating in local fun days throughout the year also helped to raise our profile in the community. Our annual Party In The Park remains as our flagship event, held during the summer it is a gathering of all our members, family and friends, carers, staff and volunteers. It has become a true celebration of the family atmosphere that Slough Mencap has come to symbolise.
Royal RecognitionIn 2011
In 2011 our Chief Executive Eleanor Cryer celebrated her 75th Birthday and was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle for services to people with learning disabilities. Eleanor celebrated at The Pines hotel with over 80 guests including family, friends and associates from over 30 years of service to Slough Mencap. We particpated in the first Sunday Funday organised by Slough Borough Council and Slough CVS at Upton Court Park and were honoured to be chosen as one of six local charities to receive proceeds from the days fun run. Club Leader Douglas Lewendon collected the cheque from event organiser Steve Wicks at a special presentation.