Virgin Money and Mencap team up to bring people together through sport

Mencap, the learning disability charity, and Virgin Money are commencing their charity of the year partnership with a series of sport and inclusion events during Learning Disability Week (17-26 June 2019) which bring people with and without a learning disability together through sport.

The year-long partnership includes Mencap being charity of the year for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, the largest and most high-profile marathon in the world. 

The fundraised income from the partnership will directly fund a programme in schools across the UK that bring young people with and without a learning disability together through sport to tackle stigma and discrimination.  

 For Learning Disability Week 2019, Mencap will be hosting a series of inclusive sports events across the country to help improve social inclusion and tackle discrimination against people with a learning disability.

The ‘Here We Are’ events will be taking place in 15 different locations across the country with activities ranging from inclusive sports days and yoga, a zumbathon as well as a coastal walk along the famous Millennium Coastal Path at Llanelli with Dennis the therapeutic Shetland pony.   

Mencap will also be hosting a staff engagement roadshow for Virgin Money, visiting each of their UK offices to raise awareness about learning disabilities and teach staff Makaton phrases, the accessible sign language used by some people with a learning disability.     

The staff at Virgin Money chose Mencap to be their official Charity of the Year through a competitive staff voting process. The two organisations are keen to ensure that this partnership is not just an amazing fundraising opportunity for the charity, but also delivers a long-lasting legacy for people with a learning disability.   

Harry Roche, Mencap Ambassador who has a learning disability, says: 

“I am really excited that Virgin Money picked Mencap as their charity partner of the year. I enjoyed speaking to the Virgin Money colleagues about Mencap and sharing my experience of what it is like to have a learning disability to help them understand why our work at Mencap is so important. This partnership is not just about fundraising but about equality, changing public attitudes through sport and making a world where people with a learning disability are living a well, meaningful life just like me. I’m looking forward to working with Virgin Money to break down the barriers to people with a learning disability participating in sport and making sport more inclusive. If more people take part in inclusive sport, the world would be a better place.” 

David Duffy, Chief Executive of Virgin Money, says: 

“We are thrilled to announce Mencap as our charity partner of the year. Mencap has been leading the way in challenging discrimination against people with learning disabilities across society, and the charity’s pioneering work on sports and social inclusion has been a game-changer. As an organisation we are extremely proud to be supporting the charity’s ‘Here We Are’ events during Learning Disability Week. These events will really help transform the lives of people with a learning disability and help bring about social inclusion. We’re looking forward to working with Mencap to make the 2020 London Marathon the most inclusive marathon yet.” 

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Royal Mencap Society, says:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year. Virgin Money shares our vision that every single person with a learning disability deserves to be included and feel a part of society. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Virgin Money which means that we are able to host our Here We Are inclusive sports events for communities across the country this Learning Disability Week. Our partnership will help us to make to make a real difference to the lives of people with a learning disability with the launch of All Move – our vision for a socially inclusive world with young people with and without a learning disability taking part in sport in schools together.”  

The All Move project is a new inclusive school programme bringing together children with and without a learning disability to tackle stigma and bullying through sport. 

The partnership with Virgin Money will also fund the charity ENABLE Scotland to deliver their own inclusion project, ACE Youth Groups.    

Theresa Shearer, Group CEO of ENABLE Scotland says:

“As Scotland’s leading charity for people with learning disabilities, we are excited to be partnering with Virgin Money and Mencap to promote inclusiveness. The money being raised will do so much to support our amazing ACE Youth Groups, which offer young people a place of friendship and shared experiences. These groups celebrate diversity, ability and individuality and campaign to break down the barriers to a more equal society.” 

For further information about the partnership and Learning Disability Week visit the Mencap website. Or on social media by following @mencap_charity and the hashtags #LDWeek19 and #HereWeAre. 

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