Keynsham Mencap celebrates 40 years of fun, friendship and vital support
More than 300 people joined a day of celebration at Keynsham Rugby Club to mark 40 years since the launch of Keynsham and District Mencap Society.
Members past and present mingled with supporters, volunteers, family and friends – as well as special guest Karen Walker, the chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council – on June 16 to enjoy music from Daz’s Rock 4 Charity, DJ Barry, Better Than Expected and the society’s own Music Man project, making their debut performance just 10 weeks after the group formed.
There were also rides from Chuffy the Train, a bouncy castle, face painting, a barbecue and a bar to entertain the crowds and keep everyone well fed.
The occasion also provided the perfect opportunity for the Keynsham charity to launch its Future Foundations building appeal, a drive to raise £250,000 by the end of 2019 to allow the society to purchase its own building from which to run all of its clubs and services and to expand.
Chair Lisa O’Brien gave a speech where she announced the goal, shared some of the society’s background and history, and thanked everyone who had supported the society and the appeal so far.
Among those raising funds towards the building appeal target is parent-volunteer Jason Preston who has committed to not shaving his beard for a whole year in return for sponsorship. Jason decorated his beard in red, white and blue for the society’s recent royal wedding fete and could be seen at the anniversary bash sporting pink and green, the Mencap colours.
Lisa O’Brien added: “It was wonderful to see so many members, their families, volunteers old and new, founder members and supporters come together to celebrate this milestone in our society’s history.
“Over 40 years hundreds of children and adults have found friendship, fun and support with us. As we move forward towards our 50th, we will aim to develop increased opportunities and initiatives to promote the wellbeing of those with learning difficulties generally.
“With a feisty performance from our Music Man project after only ten sessions, we demonstrated and took pride in the potential that our members with good support can achieve.
“I am proud to be a part of this fantastic organisation.”
Keynsham and District Mencap Society’s next event is a sponsored bike ride, walk or wheelchair push on Saturday, September 16, starting from the Bird in Hand pub and heading off along the Bristol-Bath cycle track. To get involved, call fundraiser Amanda Leonard on 0117 986 5659.
To find out about the clubs run by Keynsham Mencap, volunteering and more, visit www.keynshammencap.org.uk