All posts by Amanda

Keynsham Mencap supporters will sky dive to raise funds

Thank you for your interest in our sky divers fund raising pages! On Sunday 3rd October 2021 our team of 11 Skydivers will jump out of a plane at 15,000 ft in a tandem sky dive! If you would like to show your support for this amazing and brave team of fund raisers that include 5 members of staff and 6 supporters of our charity, including a parent of one of our members; please scroll down and click on their photo it will take you to their fund raising page and you can donate.

Holly who volunteered for MMP
Lauren who knows many of our members
Amanda, our fundraiser
Izzy who volunteers for Club 25 and holidays
Jason who volunteers for Radstock Juniors
Jemima who volunteers with Club 25 and holidays
Supporter Gareth
Supporter Jamie Lee
Helen who is mum to Alice
Supporters Gemma and Amila

Thank you for your support

Winterbourne View scandal 10th Anniversary

Winterbourne View Scandal – 10th Anniversary

The 10 year anniversary of the BBC Panorama programme that exposed shocking abuse at Winterbourne View is on 31st May. We want to reflect on the last 10 years and to call on the government to deliver the long overdue change they promised.  

What is the Winterbourne View scandal?

On May 31 2011, undercover filming by BBC Panorama exposed horrific abuse at Winterbourne View hospital, an ‘Assessment and Treatment Unit’ – near Bristol.  Patients with a learning disability and/or autism were repeatedly pinned down, slapped and taunted by staff. In the immediate aftermath of the Panorama programme, four people were arrested and a further 13 employees were suspended.

The physical, emotional, and mental abuse of people in a vulnerable position shocked the nation.  Promises were made at the highest level to ensure this could never happen again. The government was clear that hospitals are not homes and promised to ‘Transform care’ for people with a learning disability. They said people placed inappropriately in inpatient units should move out of these settings and get the right support in the community.

In the intervening ten years we have seen the government fail to deliver their commitments and miss their own targets and deadlines to close inpatient beds. Since Winterbourne View further abuse scandals have been exposed.  Winterbourne View was not a one-off.

At present, there are over 2000 people with a learning disability and/or autism locked away in inpatient units many miles from their families. . Thousands of people are at risk of overmedication, misuse of restrictive interventions including physical and chemical restraint, and being kept in isolation.

To mark the ongoing failures and the anniversary of the Winterbourne View scandal, some families of those who were at Winterbourne View have come together to share their experiences in “Tea, smiles, and empty promises” .

Their stories show the devastating impact that inpatient units can have on those placed there, and the ongoing trauma people can experience both during and after their detention. It focuses on the need for people to get the right support in the community and avoid going into inpatient units in the first place. And where people have gone into these places, they must be supported to return to their home areas as soon as possible and be able to get the right support in the community, including trauma support where needed.

Signposting for people and families affected

If you are worried that someone you know with a learning disability and/or autism is at risk of admission to an inpatient unit, or is currently in an inpatient unit and you are concerned about their care, please see the following for further information and where to go for support:If your relative has a severe learning disability, you can contact the Challenging Behaviour Foundation Family Support Service – 0300 6660126 or email

For people with a learning disability and their families and carers, you can contact Mencap’s Learning Disability Helpline: 0808 8081111 or email

If your relative is autistic you can contact the National Autistic Society’s Autism Inpatient Mental Health casework service:


 Families who have suffered because of the #WinterbourneView scandal have come together to share their harrowing experiences in new report “Tea, smiles, and empty promises.” They, like thousands of others, have been failed by the government.  Over 2000 people with a learning disability and/or autism are currently locked up in inpatient units like the one at Winterbourne View, often miles from home and far from family. Email your MP now and demand the government make good on promises to transform care: #Winterbourne10YearsOn

Nick Look has raised over £5,200

During the pandemic Nick Look wanted to get active and so started cycling for a couple of hours each day on his exercise bike and before he knew it he had clocked up 200 miles. With this new enthusiasm Nick thought he would set himself a challenge and cycle the distance of 840 miles which is equivalent of travelling from John O’Groats to Lands end and at the same time raise funds for Keynsham Mencap of which he is a member and attends their adults social club ‘Club25’.

Nick aimed to complete his challenge by Easter Sunday and was hoping to raise over £500. Instead his challenge has taken him even further, he reached his destination after 40 days of cycling which was way ahead of schedule and so decided to do the return journey,

Nick started his cycle on 25th January, he started ‘virtually’ at John ‘O’ Groats and arrived at Land’s End on the 5th March, he then decided; as he was ahead of schedule, to make the return journey. Arriving back at John ’O’Groats on 30th March.

Nick cycled a total of 65 days, (every day except Mothers day) an average of  2-3 hours a day which clocked up 138 hours by the end of the challenge which was 1680 miles, he also burned 61,216 calories and lost  1 Stone in weight!

The latest total including gift aid is a massive £5200.00.  Well done Nick, not only did you raise an amazing amount of money for us also but you have achieved some awesome personal goals.

Nicks, story was covered by the local press including Keynsham Voice, Emersons Green Voice,  The Week In and Bath Chronical. His challenge also caught the attention of the BBC news team and BBC radio Bristol where Nick and his mum Rosemary were interview live for the breakfast show.

Nick can’t wait to get back to club to see his friends and celebrate with them his amazing achievement. The money raised will be put towards some exciting new projects once lockdown is over.

Nick is planning his next challenge, but in the meantime he will continue to keep active and maintain his new level of fitness.

Congratulations Nick we are all so very proud of you!

There is still time to support Nick at

Thank you!

Happy New Year to all our supporters, we wanted to start the year off saying a huge thank you, we raised a massive £800 during our Christmas donations appeal. We’re busy planning for the year ahead so watch this space.

The Covid 70

When Lockdown started back in March member parent Val like many others wondered how she would fill her days, so she quickly decided to write a poem every day for family and friends. She has always enjoyed writing silly poems for family occasions and thought it was a good way of staying connected.

Val has written 70 poems focusing on the ups and downs of life during lockdown, she has now put them into an A4 book. We have a limited number of copies on sale and Val is donating all the proceeds from the sale to us; who, despite the closure of clubs made a commitment to remain operational and stay connected to all our members during the pandemic.

“Keynsham Mencap have transformed our daughter Claire’s life through a variety of clubs and activities. When Lockdown began we were extremely worried about Claire and how it would affect her but Keynsham Mencap have continued supporting her in so many ways; Zoom meetings, welfare calls, fitness in the park and a range of other ingenious activities. Their care for all aspects of the young people’s physical and mental wellbeing is inspiring.”
Val Rowles

The sun is shining the skies are blue,
We all know what we need to do.
Stay at home and look after our own,
All we have is the phone.
We can clean, cook and spring clean it’s true,
But I just can’t be bothered can you?
I mean to exercise with Joe Wicks every day,
But lack of enthusiasm is getting in the way.
I did change into my gym kit and even pinned back my hair,
Sadly very quickly I slumped in the chair.
We did go for a walk in the field for something to do,
But came home with boots covered in cow’s poo.
Today I’m worried sick about Charlie boy will he survive?
Oh hang on he’s got an entourage keeping him alive.
He and Camilla have only got 41 rooms to self-isolate,
But we can all walk to our front gate.
Well I’m going to write a poem a day,
Sorry it’s coming your way.
Keep Safe xxxx

Hope you enjoyed the sample.

To order your copy of this creative and very entertaining book of 70 lockdown poems email For a minimum donation of £7.50 we think it is a bargain, and if ordered by 10th December we will guarantee to get the book to you before Christmas.

Jason’s 50th birthday cycling challenge!

Jason Turns 50 on 12th November and so over the next 6 months he will cycle the distance from Lands End to John O Groats – virtually. (that’s 874 miles) Raising funds for Super Saturday Club and Radstock Juniors, two clubs that provide fun activities for young people with learning disabilities and autism that are close to his heart.
You can easily support Jason by following this link
Or text…
To donate £5, text BIKE to 70970
To donate £10, text BIKE to 70191

Jason will be cycling shorter distances in his spare time and will clock up the mileage and keep his supporters up-to-date on his progress.
Good luck Jason and Happy Birthday of course!

Thank you


We held our 3rd online quiz on Friday 26th June and this time the theme was the 80’s. Congratulations to the winning team which was lead by Andrew Hemings. Over £350 was raised via online donations made during that weeks lead up to the event. A huge thank you to all who took part, your generosity and support has been so encouraging for us during the pandemic. 

These are still uncertain times but we want to say once again a huge thank you to all our supporters, you have been amazing! So far you have raised over £3000 from purchasing raffle tickets, attending our virtual quizes or taking on personal challenges, and we are so very grateful for it all. just look at what your generosity has helped us to achieve in 100 days.

Our local giving appeal page is still live if you would like to help us.

We’ve innovated our services to continue providing support.

Despite having to close all 10 clubs due to enforced social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff and volunteers from Keynsham Mencap have been working from home, maintaining contact with our members and coming up with innovative ideas and activities. The club leaders have been keeping in touch with members and families with regular calls and texts, sending out activity packs including colouring pages, activity sheets, word searches and dot to dot, recipes to try at home, craft ideas to cut out and make and packets of seeds to plant in the garden.

The society has been active on our social media platforms with regular videos and updates from club leaders. We have embraced the virtual communication world, with groups having Zoom meet ups, a weekly get together to chat and catch up. The Music Man Project has a weekly music session, complete with instruments made from items found in the home! Radstock Juniors have had a virtual quiz and a scavenger hunt. Club25 had a brilliant game of zoom bingo, and at a members’ request held a fancy dress bingo session.

We have set up a toy and game library, for members to borrow any of the equipment that would usually be used at club sessions. Board games, jigsaw puzzles, musical instruments, toys, garden and outdoor games are included.  Operation’s Manager Laura has been out and about in the minibus to visit some members, particularly those who can’t get online, for a socially distanced chat on the door step.

‘We know that many of our more vulnerable members and their families will be experiencing increased levels of anxiety and isolation while we have closed our clubs.  This creative way of keeping in touch will remind them that they are still very much part of our community. This uncertain time will also put a great amount of strain on the families, parents and carers of our members, we want to be able to help with those challenges that they will be facing every day’. said Laura.

Our team of amazing volunteers that usually support the weekly clubs and activities are even now, during this challenging period, still supporting the members by joining in with video calls, making weekly phone calls, helping to design activities that can be done at home, making videos, and so much more. 

With the closure of the clubs, loss of subs, cancelation of fund raising events and limited grant funding available we are experiencing a significant reduction in income. We have moved into virtual fundraising and have created online events that have not only kept members, their family and friends entertained and having fun, but also raised much needed funds.

So far we have held an Easter raffle – with 2 large Easter eggs kindly donated by the Keynsham Lions, along with a hamper donated by friends of the society. A well-attended virtual pub quiz hosted on Facebook and YouTube, followed up by a music quiz, plus an online photography competition fundraiser. Even with restrictions easing a little there is still the need to host events online and appeal to the wider community of supporters to help to raise funds.

We have details of virtual events and suggestions of others ways to raise money to support the appeal at

‘It is a trying time right now, as we are experiencing a significant loss in income, many of our funders and grant providers have ceased their grant giving activities, and we have had to cancel or postpone some of our biggest fundraising events of the year.  The society still needs to cover monthly running costs, and we also want to make sure we can offer fun activities as soon as restrictions have been lifted when we welcome back our members.  We hope our supporters will continue to embrace the virtual fundraising world, while we plan more events as we continue working around the challenges we are currently being faced’. Said Amanda Leonard Fundraiser

We have been very grateful to those who have supported us so far. We have an appeal on our Local Giving page and if you feel like making a donation to us, no matter how small, it would be much appreciated. She added.

Photography competition

We held our first online photography competition fundraiser on Sunday 10th May. There we’re 7 categories, entries opened at 10am and then every hour on the hour. Thank you so much to everyone who took part, we had lots of fun judging the entries, and hope that all who watched it and took part had just as much fun.

Here are all the winners from each category;

•             Funniest Family Selfie – Sarah Thorne and Claire Rowles
•             Best Pet Portrait – Corrie Bell
•             Fancy Dress – Charley and Gabriel Davies
•             Best of British – Barry Hollyman and Suzie Lewis
•             Best Bake Off – Kim Cole
•             Green Finger Gardener – Philippa Joyce
•             Best Window Display –  Emma Anstey

We also have an overall winner, Corrie and her photo of Maisy. There was an honourable mention to Jane Haycocks for the Blue Tit, and a mention for  the best photo that sums it all up for us right now went to Vince Meredith.

All funds raised went towards our COVID-19 support fund, this activity alone helped to raise almost £300 and contributes to our overall fund which now stands at £1,666.00.

2.6 Challenges

Supporter Martin Lewis was due to run the London Marathon this year, but of course it has been postponed to October due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Rather than put all that training to waste Martin decided to take on a 2.6 exercise challenge, and undertook 26 different exercises and athletic activities. Some of the challenges he did are: 2.6 mile run, 26 push ups, 26 sit ups, 26 squats, 26 jumping jacks, 26 burpees, 26 lunges, plus several more. Wow! Martin isn’t the only one getting involved in the 2.6 challenge. Volunteer Holly Rawlings ran 2.6 miles in the heat on Sunday and Club25 member Helen Griffiths walked 26 laps of her garden and played 26 tunes on the recorder including Amazing Grace, When the Saints, Polly Put the Kettle On, Grand Old Duke of York, Daisy Bell and Kumbaya. Well done everyone; that is amazing!

The 2.6 Challenge is a great way to support charities during this time. People are coming up with creative challenges around the number 2.6 or 26. If you have a challenge in mind you want to take part in let us know! We’d love to see your pictures. Your family and friends can sponsor you on our Local Giving COVID-19 Support page.