HCR104fm are only too happy to be able to announce that our Charity of the Month for August is the Huntingdon Mencap Society.
The Huntingdon Mencap Society has been active in the area since 1986 when the Society was asked to set up home for three people who needed to move from Ida Darwin hospital in Cambridge into the community. This was to be a home for life, a place that was theirs where they could make a home of their own. With the support of our fabulous and committed staff – plus a charity committee who believed in what we were doing – our first support tenancy was created. We still support those people and have gone on to provide other supported tenancies in Huntingdon and St Ives.
As well as providing supported tenancies in the community, Huntingdon Mencap also help those with learning disabilities improve their life skills, make and maintain social networks and access leisure and work opportunities. They always make sure that the support our service users receive is delivered in the way they want, empowering them to have control over their own lives. Support is offered from just one hour per day to 24 hours-a-day and all our staff teams have specialist learning disability training, including Makaton, Autism awareness, communication skills and advocacy, so we can give the best support possible.
When we opened the Pinnies Tea Room on the Causeway, in Godmanchester, ten years ago, we could never have imagined what a difference it would make. Pinnies was the brainchild of three Huntingdon Mencap staff who had a dream to open a tea room where all were welcome and now that dream is a reality. From the very beginning our tea shop became the most requested place for our service users to visit and its popularity continues to this day – and not just because of the yummy cake!
What makes Pinnies unique is that both the customers and staff are an inclusive mix of those with and without learning disabilities and rather than putting the general public off it offers a friendly place to go for a hot drink and a tasty snack where they can meet people with learning disabilities and gain an insight into their lives. In addition, we also offer some of our service users the opportunity to gain short-term real world work experience in the shop.
Many of the people that we offer work experience to avoid social interaction and have limited confidence and skills. Seeing these people gradually improve their skills, sociability and confidence is the best accolade that can be given.
Many of these people have chosen to further their careers within the catering sector, either by attending college or searching for paid employment. What better accolade could there be to a local initiative?
If you would like to know more about what the Huntingdon Mencap Society do, then visit their website: https://www.huntingdonmencap.co.uk or ring 01480 450596