This Christmas season has been trying for many, and especially for the 1.5 million people with learning disabilities. As people with learning disabilities are seven times more likely to feel lonely than the general population, and they are more likely to be affected by the tiered lockdown restrictions, closure of day services, and by the difficulties in staying in touch with friends and family.

To address this concern, Mencap said that they are doing everything that it can to support people with a learning disability and their families through the next few weeks. Mencap support workers will be out in their communities to create a sense of normality, by transforming homes into Winter Wonderland.

Easy-read information offers support and suggests activities

And, in the run-up to Christmas, Mencap's Learning Disability Helpline is providing vital information and advice; as well as creating easy-read details on the Government’s Christmas rules, and Christmas-themed activity packs.

One of their easy-read information packs focuses on mindfulness, and mental wellbeing; the info pack suggests activities that people could engage in such as learning to play a new game or going for a walk to look at the Christmas lights and contacting friends and family through social media. This is particularly important as the mental health of many people with a learning disability have been severely affected by the pandemic.

Other easy-read guides are also packed full of fun activities such as arts and crafts activities for the whole family, a Christmas jumper garland, a Christmas activity pack, and a festive baking guide for biscuits and reindeer Bakewell tarts.

Edel Harris, chief executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “This Christmas is going to be a tough one for many, but for people with a learning disability it is set to be even harder. For many people, the Christmas party at their day service is the event of their year. But the coronavirus pandemic means people can’t come together in the same way, and many are worried about feeling lonely this Christmas. That’s why I’m pleased that people were able to come together online for Mencap’s Big Family Christmas Party to help combat loneliness and make this Christmas as special as we possibly can.”

“We would like to thank everyone with a learning disability who has helped to make the event possible, as well as our special celebrity guests, Electric Umbrella, Dance Syndrome and Sign Along With Us. Together, we were able to celebrate this special time of year and spread the gift of hope.”