The Greenham Gift 2009
The winner of the Greenham Gift 2009 and a cheque for £50,000, voted for by the audience at the Newbury Corn Exchange, was West Berkshire Mencap.
The playground at Mencap's Enborne Gate respite and learning centre, which is currently used by over 150 children, already has disabled access but the award will also allow the playground facilities for children and adults with learning and physical disabilities to be expanded.
The Greenham Gift was used to buy equipment including outdoor sensory panels and a climbing wall which improves spatial awareness, fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. Larger pieces of equipment like, assault courses and a basket swing have also been recommended.
"Some of our adults have never been on a swing before in their entire life and I think that is sad,” said Leila Ferguson, Mencap Chief Executive. West Berkshire Mencap provides high quality services and support to people of all ages with a learning disability allowing them to take part in activities others take for granted. Leila said: “If we did not exist those families would not get those facilities and parents rely on us for help and support and the respite they so desperately need. Our children's services are among the best that are provided by any Mencap and the playground makes the environment even more fantastic for our members and reduces our waiting lists.” The childrens services cost about £125,000 a year to run.
Use of the playground will continue to be offered to local schools and other community groups and over 100 teenage volunteers who help with Mencap children's services will also benefit.
The playground adds to the soft play room, sensory room for people with autistic spectrum disorder and others, and a teenage room, which was made available through a recent extension.
Parent Louise Thompson, whose daughter Sky attends Mencap, said: “I don't know what we would do without West Berkshire Mencap, I know families who only cope because they know they have Mencap offering services which act as a lifesaver."
The following four organisations were also each voted the runner-up prize of £8,000 by the audience at the Corn Exchange:
- Park House School & Sports College
- The Watermill Theatre
- Wessex Children's Hospice Trust (Naomi House)
- PALS (Partners for Active Leisure Service)