Mencap have announced the launch of their new partnership with XULA UK, who will be raising funds to support people with a learning disability through the sale of their face masks.
XULA masks are see through, reusable face masks made from breathable, antibacterial fabric. The masks provide 95% bacterial, 95% particle and 96% aerosol filtration protection to the wearer, while remaining comfortable and light weight.
This innovation is designed to help people who are too often forgotten, including people with a learning disability, as well as people with mental health issues, DHH, autism, anxiety, panic attacks and other conditions where people would benefit from being able to see the speaker's face.
The partnership between XULA and Mencap will see XULA donate a percentage of every mask sold in the UK to Mencap, with a minimum of £10,000 per year guaranteed.
People with learning disabilities have the right to protect themselves and communicate clearly with others
A spokesperson from XULA said: “We are so thrilled to have partnered with such an amazing charity as Mencap, knowing a percentage of every mask sold is going to such a worthy cause is fantastic.
"XULA is currently working with over 500 UK clients across many sectors; private, public businesses, education, leisure, hospitality, and retail, helping them to conform to The Equality Act 2010 (anti-discrimination law), by ensuring all their staff are wearing appropriate masks that allow them to communicate clearly with those who enter their place of work that have a disability. These could be cleaners, delivery drivers, customers, guests, members of staff, general public to suppliers.
"We are honoured to have the help and support of the UK’s leading learning disability charity, as the forgotten demographic have the right, like everyone, to protect themselves and be able to communicate clearly with others during these challenging and worrying times.”
Those with communication difficulties benefit from seeing the speaker's face
XULA say their see-through masks will improve face-to-face communication, allowing smiles and laughs to be visible again. The masks can also prevent skin irritation and are ideal for exercise and travel due to the breathable material.
Jackie O'Sullivan, Executive Director of Communication, Advocacy & Activism at learning disability charity Mencap said: "The pandemic has exposed many societal issues which people with a learning disability have experienced for years. Lockdown and the need for social distancing has been incredibly challenging for the people we support, and many feel left behind as the world around them returns to normal.
"The mandatory use of face coverings in public places has also posed unique challenges. While many people with a learning disability are exempt from wearing a mask themselves, those with communication difficulties and who would benefit or prefer to see the speaker’s facial expression will have their experience of a post Covid-19 greatly improved by those who opt to use this innovative product.
"We are excited to see how our relationship develops over the coming years, and to be working together to help people with a learning disability live happy, healthy lives.”