Doors are back open at Sheffield Mencap with more services set to re-open

Doors are back open at Sheffield Mencap with more services set to re-open

25 September 2020

Sheffield Mencap & Gateway is celebrating the re-opening of its daytime services following the COVID-19 lockdown and has plans to welcome more people back in the coming weeks and months.

The local charity, which supports adults and children with learning disabilities and autism, and their families, trialled a re-opening of its ‘Activity & Learning Hub’ (ALH) for adults and Short Breaks for children, throughout August. With social distancing measures in place, temperature checks at the door and increased cleaning and hygiene processes throughout the building, members have been able to return safely, to continue their learning and see friends after the four-month lockdown period.

The team at Sheffield Mencap is continuing to support students who aren’t returning to ALH just yet, using methods and resources that were developed and delivered throughout lockdown. ALH tutors are delivering weekly Zoom sessions and posting out tailored activity packs to ensure all students continue with their learning.

Sheffield Mencap is planning to reopen its evening ‘Gateway’ clubs in October which, before lockdown would welcome over 40 adults with learning disabilities and/or autism a night, three evenings a week and have been running for more than 65 years.

After successfully delivering its ‘Short Breaks’ school holiday service to children during August, the charity will now be delivering this on Saturdays, as well as range of other projects for children from October onwards.

The Lions and Lionesses – Sheffield Mencap’s men’s and women’s football teams – have now resumed their training sessions after securing funding from Royal Mencap to pay for an outdoor training venue in Sheffield.

Sheffield Mencap has worked closely with Sheffield City Council, Public Health and other support providers in the city throughout the lockdown period and during the process of reopening.

Chief Executive at Sheffield Mencap, Janet Sullivan, says,

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the local authority throughout the pandemic. Sheffield City Council committed at the very start to financially support providers and this has meant that we can continue to pay our staff to work through lockdown, so we have been keeping in touch with people we support, producing tailored learning materials and creating original video content for our Facebook page featuring lots of activities and tutorials.”

Janet continues,

“Our priority is to keep those who use our services and our staff, healthy and safe whilst delivering vital services to people with learning disabilities and their carers in Sheffield. As we look ahead to 2021 and our 70th anniversary year, I am delighted that all the planning we undertook through June and July has resulted in a successful, safe model that will hopefully enable us to open our doors fully for this important celebratory year.”

You can find out more about Sheffield Mencap & Gateway on the website www.sheffieldmencap.org.uk and you can stay up to date with the charity’s latest news by following them on Twitter @SheffieldMencap.