Linslade Mencap awareness event 'amazing success'

Left: Teddy. Right: Some of the stalls.
Left: Teddy. Right: Some of the stalls.

A Mencap awareness event was an "amazing success" as families attended to find out more about services available to them - and they even met a Leighton-Linslade unicorn!

The information afternoon was held at St Barnabas Church Hall, as people with learning disabilities and their relatives attended to find out about contacts who could help with wills, trusts, benefits, welfare, lifestyle, employment, health, holidays and community action.

Awareness event

Awareness event

Around 20 companies from the local area were present to listen and offer advice, while there was even a chance to meet 'Teddy the Unicorn', a special four-legged guest.

Organiser Suzi Sears, said: "It was an absolute ball. I'm just amazed at who turned up and how many people turned up. The atmosphere was incredible.

"The town has been desperate for something like this. I've never known anything like it before.

"It was a great chance for the organisations to network, and people could find out about clubs that they never knew existed."

Awareness event

Awareness event

She added: "There was also a lady called Sharon from a business called Ollie and Friends, who raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and holds pony parties.

"She had 'Teddy' dressed up and took him for a walk down the town afterwards.

"There were people saying: 'Do you know what I saw in the middle of Leighton Buzzard? A unicorn!'"

Suzi, who is a service manager at Mencap, Leighton Buzzard, was originally going to organise a parents' evening, but it "turned into something bigger".

Awareness event

Awareness event

After numerous calls from parents requesting different kinds of information, Suzi decided to hold an awareness afternoon, and has been amazed by all the support.

She was particularity keen to promote information about discretionary trusts. In layman's terms, Suzi explained that the trust is like having an empty bucket, which, when you die, money can be put in.

The money can go towards providing services for your disabled son/daughter, such as holidays, or a car.

Suzi, who is feeling proud of what was achieved, concluded: "I would like to say thank you to all who came, it was just amazing. I was blown away by the support of the companies and the fantastic support from my staff team.

"Thank you also to the Health Facilitation and Advocacy teams who came along.

"I've always said 'go big or go home', and I'm hoping to organise another event next year."

Suzi would also like to tell LBO readers about a disco for adults with learning disabilities at St Barnabas Church Hall on Saturday, October 26 from 7pm until 10pm.

There will be teas, coffees and hot dogs available to buy inside.