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Project information

Merton Mencap - Summer Playschemes

Children with learning disabilities/Autism miss out on the chance to take part in activities, make friends & enjoy themselves.
This is where we come in!
We will run 44 days of Summer Playschemes for children with learning disabilities/Autism, providing a range of activities & great outings!

July 2018 - September 2018

Charity information: Merton Mencap

Merton Mencap logo
  • Need


    Children with learning disabilities/Autism face significant barriers to social opportunities, independence & taking part in their community. Many have medical & sensory needs, physical disabilities, speech/language disorders & other complex needs which require a high degree of care planning & support.
    Health problems/conditions (eg obesity, epilepsy) are also common & 25%-40% develop mental health problems.
    This underlines the importance of physical & social activities, reducing isolation.


    We will run 44 days of Holiday Playschemes (10am-4pm) in July & August 2018 for children with learning disabilities/Autism (aged 5-18) based at premises across Merton and activities in the community. Our playschemes are run by our specialist volunteers & staff. Activities are tailored to the children including
    - fun days out (eg to Adventure Centres)
    - arts & crafts
    - music & drama
    - sports
    Children receive the close support they need to take part in & enjoy the range of activities offered.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Children with learning disabilities/Autism increase confidence & express themselves creatively


    » Music & drama: Sessions include playing instruments, drumming workshops, story-telling through song, discovering various types of music, & movement.
    » Sensory: Interactive technology-led sessions (eg sensory items that respond to touch, eg light up/play sounds)
    » Outings: Various outings via minibus, eg Adventure Playgrounds, Companion Cycling at Busy Park, visit to Kew Gardens, Picnic at Tilgate Park, Bowling
    » Playground play at our bases: Specially designed accessible playground for children with learning disabilities/autism

    What success will look like

    Our ‘All About Me!’ monitoring tool records each child's participation, enjoyment & achievement. We obtain child's feedback using accessible communication methods, eg symbols.

    Aim 2

    Parents/carers/families improve their wellbeing & quality of life through short respite breaks


    » Each playscheme session provides a whole day's break from caring for family carers, which families tell us is very important for them.

    What success will look like

    We collect quantitative & qualitative data via parent/carer surveys; also by consulting parents/carers through our regular Forums, collating responses to show impact of project.

  • Impact


    Our Summer Playscheme addresses the problem that children with disabilities are very often isolated during the holidays. Our evaluations at the end of the summer will show that all children attending developed their social & communication skills, confidence, made friends & broadened their experiences.

    Parents/carers will report that the break from caring helped them feel more able to cope in their caring role, more resilient, & enabled them to spend time with family members (eg other children


    Care needs:
    All children attending have complex disabilities & care needs. We have conducted a home visit and risk assessment, and formed a specialist care plan for each child to ensure their needs are met while during their attendance at our playscheme.

    Activities on/off-site present their unique risks & hazards. We conduct risk assessments of each activity to ensure safety of the children/staff.

    Staff & Volunteers:
    All have DBS checks & received our mandatory training.


    We maintain records of child attendance (including demographics), staff & volunteers attending, nature of activities, feedback from children & parents/carers. We maintain financial monitoring.
    Donors will receive a weekly email on activities during summer & an evaluation report after summer ends.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £11,327

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £3,387 Venue Hire Venue 1: £90 per day x 28 days (£2,520); Venue 2: £54.17 per day x 16 days (£867)
      £1,800 Activities Venue 1: £42.85 per day x 28 days (£1,200); Venue 2: £37.50 per day x 16 days (£600)
      £2,400 Transport (to/from home) Venue 1: £120 per day x 15 days (£1,800); Venue 2: £150 per day x 4 days (£600)
      £3,740 Transport (to/from activities) Venue 1: £114 per day x 18 days (£2,040); Venue 2: £106 per day x 16 days (£1,700)

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Merton Council £65,300 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The London Borough of Merton is home to approx 3,000 people with learning disabilities/Autism. Services in Merton are oversubscribed and alongside increasing demand as a result of population growth in the borough (estimated at 5% from 2016-2020). Our projects are oversubscribed with waiting lists.

    We hire the premises of 2 local schools in Merton to base our Summer Playschemes as both premises have the facilities we need to care for & base activities for children with complex disabilities.


    Over the summer, we anticipate 82 children with learning disabilities/Autism will attend our Summer Playscheme. Each child will be offered between 4 and 6 sessions over the summer. We arrange for the children to attend in appropriate ages for each session (e.g. 5-7, 8-11 etc).

    This means that over 80 families based in Merton will receive 4-6 days of breaks from caring over the summer holidays.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Merton Mencap has supported people with learning disabilities/Autism & their families for 50+ years; we run 20 projects for children, adults & carers in line with local/national standards. In August 2016, we won Merton’s Best Business Award for “Best Service Excellence”. We are one of Merton Mayor’s 'Charities of the Year'. Our volunteer recently won ‘Volunteering of the Year’ at Merton’s 'Volunteer Awards 2017. We regularly consult local people about the projects they want us to run.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Andrew Whittington

    Chief Executive for 9 years. Andrew has overall accountability for our Playschemes and has managed in health & social care for almost 20 years.

    Jane Birchmore

    Children's Services Manager. Jane has day-to-day responsibility for our Playschemes and is passionate about running high-quality projects.

    Niki Lowe, Office Manager

    Niki has worked for Merton Mencap for 13 years & is the contact point for parents - everyone knows Niki, she is dedicated to supporting families!

    Jo Marshall, Team Leader

    Jo is a Team Leader at our Playschemes. Jo is also employed at a Merton school supporting children with special needs & committed to local families.