East Kent Mencap members ‘Spring Forward’ in fundraiser challenge

Natalie has taken on a swimming challenge

East Kent Mencap’s members have raised more than £1,800 with their Spring Forward fundraising challenge.

The money will be used for additional fitness and wellbeing activities for people with a learning disability to enjoy.

The charity aims to raise £3,000 and due to several of members recently having Covid, the challenge has been extended to Tuesday 3 May.

After two years of being unable to fully enjoy in-person activities and get-togethers, EKM members have been challenging themselves to try a new project or activity unique to them, learning new skills and growing in confidence to enjoy a brighter, more connected 2022.

For Neil’s Spring Forward challenge, he’s been walking his dog every morning. He’s been enjoying the exercise -and so has his canine companion. Neil usually goes with his dad when walking the dog, but this time he’s decided he would do it unsupported as a part of his challenge.

Natalie is making a splash with swimming as her Spring Forward challenge. She plans to swim three times a week to raise money for East Kent Mencap.

Shorne sometimes finds it difficult to go outside, but this hasn’t deterred him from taking up walking as his Spring Forward challenge and he is also trying out new musical instruments. So far, he has raised £100 towards fitness and wellbeing activities at EKM.

People with a learning disability can face challenges socialising. This can sadly be due to social stigma and with reintegrating since the Covid-19 pandemic. At EKM staff work to ensure members get all the support they need to take part in enriching activities, maintain and grow their social lives, and have safe spaces where they can be themselves.

Fitness and wellbeing activities are essential for EKM’s members as it enhances their confidence, independence and self-esteem. One of the fitness activities EKM offers is Fit Start, which is a series of sessions held at Ramsgate Day Resource where an instructor leads workout sessions with people with a learning disability.

David attends Fit Start. He said: “Fit Start has made a massive difference to me, as it has made me feel stronger, fitter and healthier”.

“We love trying new things, like exercising or doing an art project. It makes us feel confident and more independent,” said  EKM member Stephen, who came up with the Spring Forward Challenge idea. Having missed his regular swimming sessions, Stephen wanted to challenge himself to do something new that would also help others.

CEO Jason Gerlack 

EKM CEO Jason Gerlack said: “EKM supports people with a learning disability to achieve what they want out of life. We are a member inspired and led organisation and this initiative encapsulates what we strive for – creating opportunities for members to try new things, make new friends, build self-esteem and connect with the wider community.

East Kent Mencap (EKM) members are each taking up a 30-Day Activity Challenge

“We’re so proud of everything our members achieve, particularly given the unusual and unsettling events of the last two years. We know that the Spring Forward challenge is an exciting start to a more fun-filled 2022, that will further enhance the lives of people with a learning disability in East Kent.

“Any support, however big or small, that the public can give us at this time is so very welcome and gratefully received.”

The Spring Forward Challenge runs until Tuesday 3 May. To go to www.gofund.me/d32a2096