Hastings and Bexhill Mencap Society is an independent self-funded charity based in East Sussex.
We provide day service and support for adults with learning disabilities, serving Hastings, Bexhill and surrounding areas.
Hastings and Bexhill Mencap Society have three service providing departments:
Open Door - Day service for up to 30 people per day and is open 9am-4pm daily. Open Door run two different programmes of activities, this is designed to support younger and more abled members and also for older and less abled members. Both programmes offer activities at Frimley and out in our community.
Active Arts - Provides performing and visual arts courses for adults with learning disabilities. Active Arts strives to raise the profile of learning disabled artists and performers. Wherever possible Active Arts collaborates with other artists and groups. Some Active Arts students have even had their work displayed in the Tate Modern!
Westwood - A residential home caring for 9 residents with learning disabilities. Situated in the Blacklands area, Westwood aims to encourage residents to partake in meaningful outside activity, be it employment, day service or work placement. With the help of staff, residents are encouraged to develop their living skills and run their home. They are strongly encouraged to make decisions about their home, their care and the activities they take part in.
Social Clubs – Every Wednesday and Saturday an informal Social Club is held at Frimley. Members have ownership of their club, deciding on activities and how the club is run. Volunteers help by overseeing health and safety, offering individual support, providing a transport service and supporting members to sell drinks and snacks. Every Saturday night is Disco night, also with a transport service. Once a month there is a theme night, these usually include a Valentines Party, Fish and Chip Supper, Talent Show, Easter and Christmas Parties. Times and cost vary for these special events, but society members receive a discount!
Founded in 1951, Hastings and Bexhill Mencap have provided support and day services for hundreds of adults with learning disabilities for many years at our main site, Frimley,64 London Road.
We pride ourselves on listening to our members and providing the service they choose. All departments of the society fully encourage involvement in the community, whether it is geocaching, gardening, sport or simply shopping for their weekly food. Wherever possible we encourage members to work in our charity shop in Kings Road, St Leonards. This gives our members a sense of purpose and pride and ultimately supports our society. We also run social clubs twice weekly on a Wednesday evening and Saturday evening. Saturday night is Disco night and there are themed club nights where members are invited for supper.
Fundraising fills the gaps in our social calendar. Wherever possible we encourage our members to be involved with fundraising. Fundraising supports our society and helps to raise its profile.
This last year, our fundraising objectives have taken a different angle. In January 2019 we will propose plans to Hastings Borough Council for a new building. This new building will provide performing arts space for the members wishing to take part in performing arts courses. It will stand proudly in our garden to the rear of the property in London Road, St Leonards and will feature access to the performing arts space via a link bridge and a lift. The new building will also contain accessible toilets and changing facilities for adults with more complex needs.
Currently, we hire out community spaces to rehearse and perform our classes and this limits the members that can take part in the courses. Some venues may not have wheelchair access or the locality isn’t practical. Our aim is to provide all programmes for everyone, regardless of their physical needs. Our new project, which is affectionately known as BFBF (Building Frimley’s Bigger Future) has had much input already from our members. We have held workshops with our architect and visited local projects that feature products and designs that we’d like to feature in our new building. There is just the small matter of raising the £750,000 that it will cost! With the help of legacies, large match funders and our own fundraising, we are optimistic that our new building will start in 2020.