Land Securities, the UK’s largest commercial property company, has chosen learning disability charity The Royal Mencap Society and their sister charity ENABLE Scotland to be its official charity partner for 2014.
To launch the partnership, eight events involving some of Mencap’s celebrity ambassadors will be held on Friday 25 April at various Land Securities shopping centres and the company’s head office. These events will focus on promoting Mencap’s ‘Looking beyond the label’ campaign, which aims to challenge negative perceptions of people with a learning disability.
At the heart of the campaign will be Mencap’s Young Ambassadors: people between the age of 16 and 25 who have a learning disability and use their various talents and life experiences to help break down pre-conceptions of learning disability.
Young Ambassadors will be hosting ‘Creative Spirit Galleries’ at the launch events, showcasing artwork and poetry they have composed, and encouraging people to focus on someone’s ability, rather than disability. These events will be a chance for members of the public to meet people who have benefited from Mencap’s initiatives and learn more about the work of the charity and how they can support it.
In partnership with Mencap, Land Securities hope to raise enough money to support and train 100 Young Ambassadors over the coming year.
Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap said: “We are absolutely delighted that Land Securities has chosen Mencap and ENABLE Scotland to be their official charity partners for the coming year. The partnership with Land Securities will help challenge the way people think about learning disability.
“When people hear someone has a learning disability they often see the label. They often fail to see the person behind the label and the variety of qualities and talents that person may have. Our Young Ambassadors have a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that people with a learning disability face to the huge numbers of people that visit Land Securities shopping centres and retail parks every week.”
Mencap Young Ambassador James Hamilton said: “Working with Mencap has opened up a whole new world for me. I wanted to stop studying as it wasn’t helping me develop the skills I needed and I felt people refused to look beyond my learning disability. Mencap’s Young Ambassadors programme gave me the confidence, knowledge and ability to find a paid job. I now feel happy to speak about learning disability in front of big audiences and can’t wait to speak to people at the Land Securities events about the importance of looking beyond the label. Come and meet me and other Young Ambassadors on April 25 at One New Change shopping centre.”
Anna Chapman, Sustainable Business Adviser at Land Securities, said: “We are incredibly proud to be partnering with Mencap & ENABLE Scotland and to support the inspirational work of their Young Ambassadors. Challenging negative perceptions of people with a learning disability is very important to us, and we hope that this partnership will encourage other businesses and the general public to support the “Looking beyond the label’ campaign.”
Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. www.mencap.org.uk
About ENABLE Scotland
ENABLE Scotland is a dynamic charity run by its members. We campaign for a better life for children and adults who have learning disabilities. We support people who have learning disabilities and their families to live, work and take part in their communities. www.enable.org.uk