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Carlisle Mencap celebrates 50th birthday

[C]arlisle Mencap the local charity for people with learning disability and their families celebrates its 50th anniversary next week.

Aptly it is the national learning disability week Sheila Gregory, Carlisle Mencap CEO – who is researching the history of the charity says; “The original trustees must have chosen that week to launch the group as it has been celebrated at the same time each year for more than 50 years.”

Next week will be very busy for everyone at the charity beginning with actual birthday on Sunday 17th June, when the charity’s chair Christine Bowditch unveils a commemorative bench at the charity’s flagship Grace Little Children’s Centre. This will be followed on the 18th with a fundraising tea party at the Carlisle Mencap’s Dove Café at the Church of Scotland, Chapel Street Carlisle.

The party runs from 1.30pm to 3.30 pm and everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the delicious cakes created by the charity’s staff and members.

As well as providing services the charity has a history of campaigning and fittingly members of its Independence Studio will be campaigning during learning disability week this year. From the 18th to 20th June you will find them in the atrium of the Cumberland Infirmary taking part in the national Treat me Well, campaign fighting for better treatment for people with learning disability in hospital.

Sheila Gregory said: “Carlisle Mencap has come a long way in 50 years, at that time we had no staff or services.

“Then a group of parents got together to try and make things better for people with learning disability. Over the first years they essentially did some of the things we are doing this week-worked hard to fundraise for a cause the public still don’t always fully understand and fought against injustice.

“Over 50 years we have grown into a large charity with over 150 staff and 400 services users across Cumbria. Although many many things have changed for the better – there still isn’t enough funds available from government to provide the services people we support deserve so we fundraise and there are still terrible injustices to fight against – one being the dreadful statistics on the early deaths of many people with learning disability.

“People with learning disability die more than a decade earlier than their non disabled peers and we are campaigning to stop this.”

The charity will be organisation a number of fundraising and awareness raising events over the next 12 months to celebrate the anniversary.

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