Both a friend and a voice

Mencap is a partner and voice for people with learning disabilities

Mencap’s Head Office has always sat on the edge of the City of London -- between Old Street and the Barbican -- but this year Mencap are determined to make sure our message gets heard loud and clear right to centre of the Square Mile.

The Lord Mayor says that the city has the power to transform lives and City Giving Day is an important way to show this. Being chosen as the Lord Mayor’s Appeal Charity of the Year will have a lasting benefit for people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

However, this should only be the start. The City is uniquely placed to make a real difference to the lives of many people with a learning disability.

One of the reasons Mencap was chosen as a one of charities for the Appeal is that the Lord Mayor's son, Max, has a learning disability. A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability. It can affect people in different ways, from needing help with everyday activities to full-time support. But all learning disabilities affect a person for their whole life.

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK and many face a life of poverty, isolation and inequality. For example, thousands are stuck in inappropriate settings for care, at a higher risk of abuse and neglect, as the Winterbourne View scandal highlighted. Poor care within the NHS leads to 1,200 people with a learning disability dying avoidably every single year. Mencap’s vision is a world where people with a learning disability, their families and carers have the same quality of life and opportunities as everyone else but there is a long way to go before achieving this.

With the funds from the Lord Mayor's Appeal, Mencap will support people with a learning disability and their families to access vital support and advice through Empower Me, a free, confidential ‘one stop shop’ that makes sure people with a learning disability and their families can access information, advice and advocacy as and when they need it. Take part in City Giving Day and donate to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal or Mencap directly and you can help Mencap make a difference.

The Lord Mayor has also used this year to underline the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Many people with a learning disability want to work and with the right support can become valuable and trusted employees. Government data suggests that fewer than 7% of people with a learning disability known to English councils aged 18 to 64 were in paid work in the last financial year. One of the best ways to transform the lives of people with a learning disability is for the City was to embrace the cultural and economic benefits of diversity, and lead the way in employing more people with a disability.

This Lord Mayor’s Appeal focuses on six words: creating wealth, giving time, supporting people. Combined they have the power to transform lives. They are not mutually exclusive. Through supporting people in crisis and empowering people with a learning disability into jobs, the City will help to bring each of these words to life for many people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

This Charity Giving Day let’s make this at the heart of everything the City does.

Why don’t you make a difference this Learning Disability Work Experience Week?

For decades UK businesses have been losing out on an untapped source of highly dedicated and committed employees.

Mencap and Inclusive Employer’s Learning Disability Work Experience Week initiative helps companies to find out what it’s like to employ people with a learning disability.

For a minimum commitment to one week’s work experience, Mencap will get to know your organisation, find a suitable person to place with you, help ensure you have the correct paperwork in place and­ provide a member of staff to support the person during their placement so you don’t have to.

All of this at no cost to your organisation. And this year is the first with a City focus! This is your chance to be one of the City pioneers.

Learning disability Work Experience Week runs from Nov 9th-15th 2015.

For more information on how you can get involved please visit:


Doreen Chrapala who has recently stopped working to become a full time carer for her mum, says of her time working at Citibank.

I have to say I'm one of the lucky ones. I was made redundant and was out of work for a long time. Sometimes I would sit down in floods of tears thinking that there's nothing out there for me. Luckily, I got in touch with Mencap and they got me an interview at Pitney Bowes, now Swiss Post Solutions (SPS), which provides mail and document services in the Citi building in Canary Wharf. I've never looked back since.

At SPS I delivered the papers and internal mail for Citi. Ann, who is a senior executive assistant, told me that when I deliver the papers to the 42nd floor, everyone looked forward to my visit and they loved having a chat with me. She also said one of the reasons she got on so well is that they knew the jobs would get done properly. This still means the world to me and I take great pride in the work I did.

Unfortunately, when I was in work I was in the minority of people with a learning disability. Most people with a learning disability won't even get an interview and when they do some people still think that we won't be able to add value. This just isn't true. I've been told I did the job as well as anyone else and I had a really good relationship with my colleagues. I got the support I needed when I needed it and loved going to work every morning.


The Royal Academy of Arts is embarking on a major transformation at its home in central London that will enhance and reveal more of its activities beyond the world-class exhibitions programme for which it is known best. The funds raised through the Lord Mayor’s Appeal will support this landmark redevelopment and expanded public programme and help to realise this momentous stage in the RA’s history.

In 1768, a group of artists and architects came together to form the RA. The Academy would be independent and run by artists – known as Royal Academicians. It would provide a venue for public exhibitions and lectures, and establish an art school to nurture the next generation of artists. The RA has remained true to this vision for almost 250 years.

The separate RA buildings on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens will be united through designs by internationally-acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield RA. New public galleries and displays will reveal treasures from the RA’s historic collection and provide a showcase for works by RA Schools students and today’s leading artists. A lecture theatre and a purpose-built learning centre will enable many more people to take part in learning and debates about visual culture.

These plans will open up the RA as never before, creating a revitalised destination for artists and the public in the heart of London, in time for the RA’s 250th anniversary in 2018.

To find out more about the RA and our plans for 2018 visit


The Royal Ballet School is widely recognised as one of the world’s greatest centres of classical ballet training. It trains and educates outstanding dancers for The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and other top international dance companies, and sets the standards in dance training, nationally and internationally. Since its founding in 1926, the School has contributed immeasurably to our nation’s dance heritage. Former students include Margot Fonteyn, Antoinette Sibley, Anthony Dowell, Anya Linden, Wayne Sleep and Darcey Bussell and influential choreographers such as Kenneth MacMillan, David Bintley, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon.

The Royal Ballet School is honoured to have been nominated as one of The Lord Mayor’s Charities and to benefit from the 2014/15 Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Funds received will support the work of The Royal Ballet School and the talented young dancers who aspire to train there but cannot afford to do so – be this as a full time student or through one or the School’s outreach programmes.


The School offers an eight-year carefully structured dance course with an extensive academic programme. Admission is based on talent and potential alone. Each year 750 young dancers apply for approximately 50 places. Currently 90% of students rely on financial assistance to attend the School.

The School’s outreach programme trains 3,500 young dancers in eight centres across the country and provides free tuition for approximately 2,500 primary and secondary school children in areas where there is little or no access to the arts.


The funds from the Lord Mayor’s appeal will support a crucial period of development for the City & Guilds of London Art School, helping to kick-start new creative programmes and activities. Aimed at supporting the Art School’s work and excellence in heritage and the arts, these initiatives could include partnerships to cement student employability; local community outreach to engage young people in art and craft activities; and professional development courses tailored to artists, conservators and carvers.

Founded in 1879, the Art School has been training the next generation of artists and crafts people for over 136 years. Undergraduate and postgraduate students in Fine Art, Historic Carving in wood or stone, and Conservation of cultural artefacts benefit from hands-on, skill-based training of the highest standard. With 230 students and an academic faculty of 80 practising artists, craft and conservation professionals, the Art School maintains an intimate scale which enables individual talent to flourish. Thanks to its student centered approach - based on high levels of contact time with tutors and generous individual studio spaces - graduates consistently achieve high academic results and secure work in creative and related fields.

The Art School is a charity that has historical ties to the City of London, with a significant number of the City’s Livery Companies providing generous support, in particular through bursaries ensuring that courses remain accessible to students of all backgrounds.