This year marks 70 years since we first opened our doors at Sheffield Mencap & Gateway and began supporting people with learning disabilities and their families in Sheffield.
Whilst we’re still living in very unusual and uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we aren’t going to let that stop us celebrating this milestone year. Our plans involve our members, their families, our staff, volunteers, local businesses and the communities of Sheffield.
How are we celebrating our 70th anniversary?
Sponsor me for 70
We are inviting anyone and everyone who would like to raise some money for our charity to do a ‘70’ themed challenge. This could be a 70 minute silence, a 70 day commitment (like running every day for 70 days, or not eating chocolate for 70 days), a 70 mile walk (!), reading 70 books, writing 70 poems, telling 70 jokes, learning 70 Makaton signs… the list goes on! All we ask is that your challenge is safe, adheres to any social distancing rules that are in place, and that you have fun whilst doing it!
We have a dedicated online fundraising page (click here to visit it) that you can ask your supporters to donate to, and we will share and promote your activities on our Facebook page to let everyone know how amazing you are! You can also ask people to pledge support for your challenge on a sponsorship form, click here to download yours.
Want to take part in ‘Sponsor me for 70’? Just email Jonathan Raimondi to tell us what your challenge is and when you’d like to do it.
There is no single story we can tell to give people the full picture of our charity. So, in our milestone year, we’ll be telling 70 stories. These will be about the amazing people who we have supported, who have worked for us and volunteered with us over the years.
We want to show the ways that we have helped people with learning disabilities to live the lives they choose, to reach their potential and to feel valued, respected and included in society.
Since we were set up in 1951 by parents of children with learning disabilities, we have continued to provide people with support from childhood, and throughout their adult lives. Our dedicated carers’ team have become integral in the lives of many families, and our stories will represent the ‘support for life’ that we offer.
We will also be reflecting on some of our staff members’ journeys here at Sheffield Mencap & Gateway, and our volunteers too – who make a massive difference to our members and to our charity.
We will tell the 70 stories in different ways throughout the year, such as through video and printed booklets, on our website and Facebook page, and we may even have some of our stories shared by local radio and newspapers in Sheffield.
The Jubilee Draw
As part of our 70th Anniversary fundraising efforts, we are running a Jubilee Draw which anyone over the age of 16 can sign up to and gives participants the chance to win money every month.
We ask all participants to give £5 each month, which – when we have enough people signed up – gives a total ‘jackpot’. Each month, someone’s name is drawn, and the lucky winner takes home half of the jackpot (which could be up to £175), with the other half going straight towards our fundraising total.
So, you are helping us to raise vital funds, whilst being in with a chance to win every month – what’s not to love?
Fundraising throughout the year
Throughout 2021 we’ll be doing everything we can to raise money, and one of the things we’d like to do is to refurbish our popular and much-used Sensory Room.
The Sensory Room provides calming and enjoyable experiences to babies, children and adults with learning disabilities. It helps our members to regulate their emotions, reduce anxiety and provides a safe space for them to relax and calm down.
As well as refreshing the whole space to give our members a better experience, we have ambitions to buy some specialist equipment for the Sensory Room, including a Laser Sky Projector, an abstract tactile wall panel and a Sound to Sight showtime panel.
Would you like to donate? Please go to https://sheffieldmencap.enthuse.com/sheffieldmencap#!/
And it doesn’t stop there…
We will be responsive to the ongoing pandemic and as and when it is safe to do so, we plan to hold events and open days, for our members and their families, staff, volunteers, and for the public to come and celebrate with us.
Our students, members, staff and volunteers are already working on some exciting 70th Anniversary projects, including a History of Sheffield Mencap & Gateway and we can’t wait to showcase these.
We also have many opportunities for local businesses to lend their support and to make a big impact on our local independent charity during our milestone year.
This includes being a sponsor of some or all of our ’70 Stories’, signing up to the Jubilee Draw, becoming a corporate donor towards our Sensory Room refurbishment, or taking part in our ‘Sponsor me for 70’ fundraising campaign.
This is a big year for us, and as Sheffield’s leading support provider for people with learning disabilities, we’d love to have members of the city’s business community celebrate with us.
Interested? Please email Vicky Toogood.