Hundreds enjoy East Kent Mencap’s one-day festival

Max Farmer and Christopher Firmin practising with Kent Cricket staff at the event

Hundreds of people turned out for learning disability charity East Kent Mencap’s one-day festival last Thursday.

Fun, football and falafel in the sunshine were on offer at the free event at Margate Football Club.

Visitors could have a go at sports, dance, sensory sessions and enjoy live music. The musical line up of local artists included The Greyhound Buskers, Weird Cousins, and James Todd.

For the more energetic there was golf, football, circus skills, fitness, dance workshops and cricket. The activities were supported by Gillingham FC, England Golf and Kent Cricket.

Gentler activities on the day included; Bits & Bytes with their robotic baby dinosaurs giving out cuddles, Pets as Therapy brought two of their friendly dogs for people to touch and stroke and two masseuses were on site offering relaxation sessions. Deputy mayor Julie Dellar took part in activities and chatted to other visitors.

The charity had support from services including Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Books Beyond Words, NHS Kent Community Health, Healthwatch, Thanet Volunteer Bureau, Kent Libraries and Learning Disability England.

Businesses also stepped in to help with volunteers from Tesco, Pfizer, Network Rail and Lloyds Bank. They provided support on the day, greeting people and staffing sports activities.

Fundraising manager Jane Brooke said: “We were incredibly lucky that so many services gave their time for free to create a really fantastic day for people with a learning disability! Thanks to funding from the Tesco Bags of Help Scheme, we were able to hold it in the ideal venue of Margate Football Club who went out of their way to make sure the day went smoothly.”

Members, Paul and Josh took to the decks from 5.30pm to kick start the 18-plus evening event with a winning set list and headliner DJ Howard Sway rounded off the gig with a cool mix of reworked classics.

The day raised £537 which will go towards the charity’s next event.