Leeds Mencap in bid to raise £20,000 to fund play sessions for young children with learning disabilities

Leeds Mencap has this week launched an urgent appeal to raise £20,000 to provide specialist play sessions for young children with learning disabilities.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 6:00 am

Based in Leeds this independent charity has been providing a specialist playroom for over 50 years in the city. However, during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, funding for this

service has been reduced and now the charity needs urgent financial support to continue to keep it going.

Leeds Mencap needs to raise £20,000 so it can continue to develop specialist play sessions in the future and make sure very young children with learning disabilities get the best start in life.’

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Early years sessions hosted by Leeds Mencap.

Whilst the charity has been fortunate to have had support over the years from a number of trusts, foundations and individual fundraisers more recently it has become increasingly difficult to raise the funds for this service and the COVID-19 pandemic has also made funding more competitive.

In addition, it has meant that many of Leeds Mencap’s income streams disappeared overnight, including income from our room hire, community nursery and fundraising events and community and company income.

Cath Lee, CEO of Leeds Mencap, said: "Our playroom is an incredibly valuable service that has been running for years. Families tell us when they find it that they ‘no longer feel alone’. The first three years of a child’s life are vitally important as their brains develop quickly at this stage. We work with very young children with learning disabilities and focus on early communication and play skills so they have a strong foundation ahead of school and can fulfil their potential in life.

“This appeal is part of our recently launched Imagine if… campaign which features families and children as well as staff, volunteers, businesses and supporters talking about having a learning disability and their relationship with Leeds Mencap. With 15,000 people in Leeds have a learning disability we are determined to get people in the city talking about the issues that families and people with learning disabilities face.”

Specialist play sessions with Leeds Mencap

A parent who attends the playroom with her son added: "Thomas was born with global development delay and we started at Leeds Mencap 2 years ago. Since then, he has learnt to walk and communicate using single words and socialise with other children. This early support is hugely important and is a lifeline."

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