South Wilts Mencap: News

South Wilts Mencap news along with local and national stories relating to people with learning disabilities.


IMPACT – Swindon & Wiltshire Active Recovery Service has been launched by social enterprise, Turning Point.

The new substance misuse service is operating from 3 central hubs in Swindon, Salisbury and Trowbridge, as well as groups and sessions taking place in a range of community venues.

Turning Point already has a strong track record on helping people with drug and alcohol issues in Wiltshire. Last year they treated and supported more people and the number finishing treatment successfully also increased.

The service promises to be more personalised, responding to changing drug and alcohol trends and improving recovery rates across both Wiltshire and Swindon.

IMPACT – IMproving Prevention, Accessibility, Collaboration & Treatment

Visit the IMPACT website

IMPACT will be introducing a number of new ways of working, making services more accessible including:

  • Better use of digital technology through on-line support and information and telemedicine.
  • Delivering services from a range of discreet and convenient community locations.
  • Working jointly with other local organisations to reach out to groups that can often be under-represented in treatment services, such as women.

Jay Stewart, Director of Public Health and Substance Misuse at Turning Point said:

“We are very much looking forward to expanding our strong track record of services in Wiltshire to the borough of Swindon and developing a new integrated service.

“Our new initiatives incorporating digital technology and joint work with The Nelson’s Trust will make services more accessible and expansive to the community.”

Jerry Wickham, Cabinet Member for Public Health from Wiltshire Council said:

“ Substance Misuse can affect anyone from our communities. That is why we look forward to continuing to work with Turning Point to develop a new service that is more accessible and aims to intervene at a much earlier stage.

“In working with Swindon Borough Council to jointly commission this service, local people across the whole county will experience a fully joined up way of working.”

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said:

“It is acknowledged that drug and alcohol misuse in our communities has an impact on police and the criminal justice system, it is therefore so important to have a service that ensures the best chance of recovery to those dealing with their addictions.”

Wiltshire Family Learning

What is Family Learning?

In simple terms Family Learning is about turning these three things into reality:

  1. Improving the skills and prospects of parents/carers
  2. Improving the achievements of children
  3. Helping parents/carers to understand how to support their children to learn and to value their role as their child’s first teacher

The impact of Family Learning

In a recent study of Family Learning in Wiltshire, 94% of learners felt the courses helped them with one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Goals and ambition
  • Confidence with work and general confidence
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • Future ambitions
  • Independent study
  • Finding employment
  • Being aware of help available for work
  • Volunteering
  • Progress to further learning
  • Improved skills to return to work

When and where?

Courses are:

  • Fun
  • Free
  • Practical

Learners will be part of a small group where everyone joins in to learn in a relaxed and friendly environment, usually within a:

  • Local school
  • Children’s centre
  • Community venue

Sessions take place in term time and holidays for a couple of hours over a few weeks. Parents/carers may have the opportunity to take part in a longer programme leading to a qualification.

Timetable of Courses

Entry requirements

If you have 5 GCSEs grades A to C (5 O Levels) this course may not be suitable for you. Please contact us if you require further details; we’d love to hear from you

Employed or Unemployed

Resident in the UK or EU for 3 years

Aged 19 or over (contact us regarding exceptions)

CEA Card

The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed for UK cinemas by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA).

The Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.

The Card is also one way for cinemas to make sure they look after their disabled guests. If you require an adjustment to visit a cinema because of your disability, cinema staff should make them for you whether you have a CEA Card or not.

The Card is developed by UKCA’s Disability Working Group, whose members include film exhibitors and distributors, and national disability charities such as Action on Hearing Loss, the RNIB, Dimensions and Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Apply for a CEA Card online

Apply for a CEA Card by post


You will need to provide evidence that the card holder receives one of the following:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Blind Persons Registration

You will need to send a copy of the awarding letter from DWP or a statement confirming receipt of the allowance for the person requiring assistance (the card holder).

This should be dated within the last 12 months.

Alternatively, if you are a Registered Blind Person then please send a photocopy of certification for the person requiring assistance (the card holder).

To apply, the person requiring assistance must be 8 years of age or older.

Home Education

The Department for Education (DfE) is calling for evidence to inform their decisions around issues, including monitoring the provision of home education and support for families who home educate, where families have chosen (for whatever reason) to educate their child at home.

The DfE is also looking for comments on draft versions of two DfE guidance documents about elective home education; one is designed for parents and the other is for local authorities.

For more information and to answer the SURVEY

The survey closes on July 2nd 2018.

Close the School Transport Loophole

More and more disabled children are being refused school transport or charged for it, as councils exploit a loophole in the law.

How can it be fair that the law says a young person is expected to be in school or training until 18 but does not have the transport to get there once they turn 16?

That’s why Contact are calling on the government to close this loophole for disabled youngsters as they face additional challenges getting to school or college.

Sign the Petition Now

Contact know from their school transport inquiry that the impact of losing school transport is huge for families.

Although the law says that young people are expected to be in school or training until they are 18, local councils do not have to provide them with free school transport once they turn 16.

For advice and information on school transport, visit Contact’s page on transport to school and college and post-16 school transport in England. You can also find out about challenging school transport decisions.

Wiltshire’s Draft Placements Commissioning Strategy 2017-2022 Consultation Sessions

Wiltshire Parent Carer Council will be inviting parent carers of children/ young people aged 0-25 years with Special Educational Needs and/ or Disabilities (SEND) to attend one of our consultation sessions to find out more about Wiltshire’s Placements Commissioning Strategy.  There will be a brief outline of the strategy by the Lead Commissioner and the opportunity to offer your views on the placements needs for children and young people and the proposed commissioning priorities.

What is the strategy about?

The strategy covers any placement that Wiltshire Council makes for a child or young person with a commissioned provider both in Wiltshire and in other local authority areas which includes:

  • Independent fostering agency placements for looked after children & young people
  • Residential group-living placements for looked after children
  • Independent special school placements for children & young people with SEND (incl. post-16)
  • Accommodation & support placements for care leavers
  • Independent specialist placements for young people with SEND post-16

When are the consultations? – All sessions run from 10 am-12.30pm on the following dates:

Friday 18th May 2018 – Trowbridge (MSO Workspace, One Newmarket Avenue, White Horse Business Park, Trowbridge BA14 0XQ)

Monday 21st May 2018 – Salisbury (Salisbury and South Wiltshire Sports Club, Skewbridge, Wilton Road, Salisbury SP2 9NY)

Wednesday 6th June 2018 – Lacock (Wiltshire College Lackham, Lacock, Nr Chippenham SN15 2NY)

These consultations are for parent carers only.  BOOK NOW.

Additional information – If you would like to take a look at the Draft Placements Commissioning Strategy documents Draft Strategy Documents

If you are unable to attend any of Wiltshire Parent Carer Council’s consultation sessions, you can still email your answers to the consultation questions contained in the strategy document to

The consultation period runs until 9th June 2018.

Volunteer Today

South Wilts Mencap is building its team of volunteers, so please give some thought to joining us for a few hours each week.  Here are some of the areas you can volunteer in;

  • Our Charity Shop needs sales assistants and people to help sort and manage the stock.  It is a great place to enjoy a bit of company whilst helping to generate vital income to keep the charity running.  There is no need for experience, but if you have worked in retail, so much the better!
  • We need someone to coordinate, and others to help, with our Ability Bikes Club one evening per week between 5:30 and 7:30pm (day as yet unknown).  This activity is great fun, you would love it!
  • Our other clubs need some friendly faces too, from practical help with the activities to admin assistance.
  • If you are interested in a more strategic role, you might consider becoming a Trustee or member of the Executive Committee.  Both Boards are made up of voluntary positions with committee meetings held in the evenings.
  • We can also find small tasks for anyone with administrative experience.
  • Finally, please don’t forget out Street Collection in Salisbury on Saturday 19th May.  This is such an important team effort.  Last May we took over £1,000 and it would be so good to beat that figure.  We are looking for a coordinator for the bi-annual street collections and volunteers to come into town and collect for an hour.

Interested?  Need more information?  Ring Our Secretary, Emma Harper on 07702 565318 or email

Congratulations on Employment

Members of Our Club would like to congratulate Tom Blyth who has got a job. Unfortunately this does mean that he will be stepping down from his role as Peer Mentor at Our Club, but they are wish him all the best in his new position. Our Club members really appreciate all the hard work he has done on club nights and look forward to seeing him at the monthly Discos.

Congratulations also goes to Thomas Wyman, who has also secured himself a job but still would like to remain being a Peer Mental at Our Club.  We are very proud of our Thomas.

Well done Tom and Thomas!

New Healthwatch Wiltshire provider announced

After a recent tender process, Wiltshire Council has appointed a new provider for the county’s independent local Healthwatch service. The contract has been awarded to Help & Care, a charity based in Bournemouth, who will take over the service from 1 June 2018.

Healthwatch Wiltshire is the county’s independent health and care champion and it exists to ensure people are at the heart of decision-making about local health and care services.

Evolving Communities Community Interest Company (CIC), based in Melksham, has run the Healthwatch Wiltshire for the last five years. It also runs two successful local Healthwatch contracts in Gloucestershire and Somerset, as well a highly-regarded research consultancy service both locally and nationally.

Chris Graves, Chair of Evolving Communities, said: “Over the last five years we’ve received a very positive welcome, since the establishment of the Healthwatch service in Wiltshire. We have enjoyed a productive relationship with partners that has produced some really innovative outcomes for the people of Wiltshire.

“Most of all we have been amazed by the commitment and support given to us by our dedicated team of volunteers and we hope they will continue to support the Healthwatch vision.

“I am confident that the model of Healthwatch that we provide is a successful one in delivering improvements in health and social care for local people, and we will continue to promote it in Gloucestershire and Somerset.”

Mary Curran, newly-appointed Chief Executive of Evolving Communities, added: “Whilst disappointed with the loss of our Wiltshire contract, I am delighted to have joined Evolving Communities and am now focused on delivering a first class Healthwatch service in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

“We will benefit greatly from the knowledge and experience gained from the great track record of work in Wiltshire.”

The current Healthwatch Wiltshire staff will be entitled to transfer over to the new service should they wish to do so, and Evolving Communities will be supporting them through this process.