All posts by Amanda

We Smashed it at our 2022 Dinner and Auction

On Saturday 26th March and after a 2 year break we were delighted to welcome back supporters to our fundraising dinner and auction.  ‘It was a joy to see familiar faces and to welcome new supporters to our biggest fundraising event in our 2022 calendar. Said Amanda Leonard Fundraiser  

The start of pandemic meant we stopped running clubs in the usual way; thanks to the determination of our staff and volunteers we adapted services and continued to reach out to members during such an uncertain time.

This gave us the opportunity to try new things; we took their services online and virtual, spent more time outside and made visits to families at their homes. Staff and volunteers did whatever it took to ensure members did not feel isolated.

We are so pleased of what was achieved during the last 2 years despite experiencing challenges we never knew existed, and throughout it all, it made us stronger than ever.

The Auction raised in excess of £5000 on the night which way exceed expectations in what is still a very tricky time. ‘It felt great to finally be able to hold an actual physical event. We are very grateful to our supporters who continue to keep funds coming in for us; and despite a drop in income experienced.  This amazing total will make sure we keep doing what we do best: ‘Providing social opportunities for adults and children with learning disabilities and autism’.  Amanda added.

Huge thanks go to businesses iTeam solutions, Longwell Records, Gregory’s Estate agents, Bristol fun for hire, Homelet’s in Bath, Apex Hotel, Soul spa, Bailbrook House, SW Disco’s, Espa UK, The Olive Tree Restaurant, Original Wild Bath, Stockwood Golf Club, Congo Falls Adventure Golf, Wall Eden Adventure,  Phil Girdlestone photography, Jane Metters, Leanna Biggs Make up and Hair, Hare Brewery, Bristol Headshots Photographers, Blue Bird Bakery, Clifton Wine School, Bird and Blend, Mulberry and Persimmon Homes who all contributed to the success of the evening.

Special thanks to Simon White of SW Discos who stood in as auctioneer and did an outstanding job helping to raise almost £2500 from just the auction lots alone!

Local business steps up for Keynsham Mencap.

Passionate about supporting their local communities, the team at PBTA (Perpetual Business and Tax advisors) Keynsham and Hanham,  stepped out in October in support of Keynsahm Mencap after they heard about the charity’s mini-bus appeal. 

Together the 16 strong team, set an aspirational target of 5 million steps for a month long campaign. The PBTA STEPTOBER team walked almost 5 million steps which equated to over 10,000 steps per day per staff member every day for the whole of October. 

Duane Shield (Director) shared ‘We are a local accountancy practice who really wanted to continue to support this brilliant charity, by meeting our step targets we were able to provide a one off donation of £500 to help them with their current minibus appeal’.

‘We have a fantastic partnership with PBTA and look forward to continuing to work together on other fundraising and awareness projects in 2022’ said Amanda Leonard fundraiser.

The mini-bus is a life line to the members of Keynsham Mencap and so these crucial repairs where a necessity despite being an unplanned expense.

Local company AJM Engineering also came to the rescue along with the generosity of the local community who donated to the online appeal which meant the final bill was covered and the repairs were carried out; just in time as the charity’s Music Man Project takes to the road to perform on Sunday 12th December at 4pm at Manvers Street Church Bath. 

Quiz back on track

On 6th November, Keynsham Mencap held is first quiz night in over 2 years. This has always been a very popular event pre Covid times among members families and friends of the society and this time was no different. 82 people had a great time at the Saltford Hall in Saltford answering questions around sport, music general knowledge and TV they enjoyed drinks from the bar, a ploughman’s supper and the ever popular raffle.  

‘This was our first independent fund raising event since the start of the pandemic and so we really did not know what to expect.  Said fundraiser Amanda Leonard. ‘The total raised that evening was just under £1000, which was just superb.’

Keynsham Mencap HighFliers!

Our first team of charity Tandem skydivers took to the Devon skies yesterday! Perfect weather conditions meant it was all systems go!! 

Amanda, Helen, Lauren, Izzy, Gemma and Amila have been raising money for us and set themselves the challenge of their lifetime!

Everyone thought it was the most amazing and thrilling experience and enjoyed every minute!

So far the skydiving team have raised over £6000 in sponsorship. Well done guys!

We have another date in the diary when more thrill seekers can take part for free providing they raise a minimum amount of sponsorship of just under £400.  If you are interested in taking part on Sunday 3rd April 2022 with the next team or if you want to do it solo please contact Amanda in the office amanda@keynshammencap.org.uk  for more details. It will be one of the most incredible challenges you have ever done!! Guaranteed!

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 support@thecbf.org.uk

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

If your relative is autistic you can contact the National Autistic Society’s Autism Inpatient Mental Health casework service: https://www.autism.org.uk/what-we-do/help-and-support/autism-inpatient-mental-health-service

Resources: 

www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk/information/information-sheets-and-dvds/when-things-gowrong.html

www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/displaying-challenging-behaviour/meeting-challengeguides-families

www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/inpatient-mental-health-hospitals/autistic-people-and-inpatient-mental-health-hospit

 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: bit.ly/WV10EmailYourMP #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 http://easydonate.org/NICK

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 amanda@keynshammencap.org.uk. 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.