South Warwickshire's Mencap Pathway celebrates its tenth birthday - The Stratford Observer
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15th Aug, 2022

South Warwickshire's Mencap Pathway celebrates its tenth birthday

A DAY centre for people with learning disabilities that began in Stratford has just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Mencap Pathway marked coming into double figures with a party at Stratford Town Hall, where there was time to reflect on all the opportunities it has provided, not just to adults and young people in in the town, but in Warwick and Malvern too.

Run by Heart of England Mencap, Mencap Pathway started out as a single day centre in Stratford before expanding to neighbouring areas, and offering a whole host of activities from cooking and gardening, swimming and cycling, to singing, photography, art and science.

It also offers core skills like maths, reading and writing.

Some 260 Pathway sessions are now accessed each week. There are lots of trips out and opportunities to volunteer, helping to litter pick with Rubbish Friends or lending a hand at Mary Arden’s Farm.

Pathway was the vision of its founder Jake Thornton.

He said: “A decade ago during a time of many council-run day centre closures, my mission behind setting up Mencap Pathway was to create something new and radically different for our customers. Pathway could be summed up as ‘a day centre without walls’ – the aim was for our customers to become as much a part of the community as anyone else, through our activities and continuous community participation”.

Kate Buttrick, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager for Heart of England Mencap, added: “From being one of the original team to now, I can truly say this has been the best 10 years in my working life. We have achieved so much over the years and managed to overcome many obstacles.

“Between the staff, past and present, we’ve built many vibrant, person-centered, multi-activity centers to help people with a learning disability and autism achieve their personal goals – whilst having much fun and laughter along the way”.

Pathway highlights include cycling in the Forest of Dean, a photography exhibition at Shakespeare’s New Place and the drama group’s 2021 production of ‘A Christmas Carol’.

For more information on Pathway and getting involved, call 01789 298709 or visit www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk

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