Mencap Children’s Centre Mencap

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Contact Information

Mencap Centre, 5 School Road , Newtownbreda , Castlereagh , Co Down, BT8 6BT
Contact Person
Early Years Manager – Leigh Noble, Family Support Manager - Joanne Sweeney, Youth Programme Manager – Mikhaila Woods
Telephone Number
028 9069 1351
Email Address
Web Address
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Additional Information

“Early Years Services/ the Mencap Children’s Centre are still open for the families that have been allocated a space for the 2020 – 2021 intake for the early intervention programme. There are face to face limitations for the Family Support and youth programmes but most have been moved to virtual support with some face to face support. For further information please get in contact with us”

Mencap is the leading voice of learning disability in the UK. Everything we do is about valuing and supporting people with a learning disability, their families and their carers. Our Early Intervention work is a fundamental part of our strategy and is essential to improve outcomes for children with a learning disability. Check out our ‘Creating Brighter Futures’ paper; Mencap are committed to supporting as many families as we can across Northern Ireland that have children with a learning disability, it’s part of ‘Our Big Plan’. For children- Early Years’ service: Mencap Children’s Centre is a specialist children’s service where children aged 2-3 years with a learning disability can receive support and early therapeutic intervention. The service would not be possible without the partnership with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) and the team of allied health professionals that work alongside Mencap’s Early Years team and Family Support team to provide a holistic, caring approach for children with learning disability and their families. At Mencap Children’s Centre we ensure your child can learn and play in a therapeutic environment. This will help them develop and achieve things that may not be possible without specialist expertise and support. The children are assessed by BHSCT physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. An individual programme of care is then developed for each child in consultation with the parents. The children are each assigned a keyworker from the Early Years team who alongside your child’s therapist will then incorporate the programme into the curriculum, daily routine and activities. In our children’s centre we provide 52 spaces for children aged 2-3 years in their penultimate pre-school year who live within the BHSCT & SEHSCT areas. Access to our service is only available via referral from a health professional and your child will need to be in receipt of a minimum of 2 therapies (SLT, OT, and PT) to be eligible. Early Intervention Groups: The Mencap Early Years team deliver 6 week blocks of specialist early intervention sessions for children with global developmental delay and their families. The sessions are suitable for children aged 2-4 years that would benefit from participating in small group activities with children of the same age. The early year’s team will introduce therapeutic approaches (communication strategies, sensory processing/ integration ETC.) with the children in 2 hour weekly sessions and will support their parents/ carers on how to continue this learning at home. For more information on this service please get in contact with the Mencap Early Years Manager. Please note that priority will be given to the children who are already on the Early Years’ service waiting list. Summer Scheme: In partnership with BHSCT, Mencap deliver a summer programme of activities for children with a learning disability that are aged 4-18. Allocation of this provision is supported by the BHSCT CWD team. For more information please get in contact with the social work team on 028 9504 2725. For families- The Mencap Family support programme The Mencap Family Support programme supports families with children aged 0 to 7 with a learning disability, global developmental delay and / or autism. Children do not need to have a diagnosis to access the family support programme. The family support programme offers a range of centre and community based interventions and the family support sites are located in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. Family Support engagement includes: • Listening ear service / one-to-one support and signposting • E-PAtS 8 week parent support programme covering key areas including communication, sleep and behaviours that challenge • Makaton sessions • Information sessions on carers rights, assessments, benefits advice and the statementing process • Workshops to support home learning and play • Parent & Toddler Programme • Family Days • Information Fairs • Resource Packs for home learning • Virtual Parent Forum • Facebook groups • Online resource to support families: / During the Covid-19 crisis Mencap worked in partnership with a number of family carers, practitioners and researchers to produce this resource for families who care for children, young people or adults with a learning disability. It contains information about effective communication techniques, ideas for creating choice and independence, strategies to reduce behaviours that challenge and tools to support well-being. There are also a range of videos and printable resources available. Family Support have also collaborated with a number of universities to trial and test evidence-informed programmes of support for families and children. All future research opportunities will be shared on our main website. To find out more about availability and access to the above services please contact the family support team at For young people- Heroes Project HEROES is an EU PEACE IV funded programme, managed by the Special EU Programme Body (SEUPB). This youth project is for young people in Belfast, Fermanagh and Derry/Londonderry. The project seeks to provide young people, aged 14-24, with the opportunity to engage in programmes that promote personal development and inclusion, reduce stigma, support individual needs and support the development of meaningful relationships with others. Transform Project TRANSFORM is an EU PEACE IV funded programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The project seeks to engage with young people aged 14-24 supporting them to fulfil their potential, develop skills, confidence, gain OCN qualifications and contribute positively as active citizens in their communities. Young people will participate in youth work programmes that will explore the themes of Personal Development, Good Relations and Active Citizenship. Youth Club Mencap offers a bi-weekly youth club on a Friday evening from 6,30pm to 8.30pm for young people aged 14-18yrs old. This is a great opportunity for young people to come together, meet new friends and take part in a range of games and activities. The youth club is part of our youth work programme currently funded by the Education Authority Youth Service. Youth Forum Mencap youth forum if for young people aged 16-25 & aims to give young people with a learning disability a platform to share and discuss their views on issues effecting them. There is an opportunity to gain a range of new skills and training. We have a youth forum in both Belfast & Enniskillen For professionals- Working with the Childcare Partnership (HSCB), Mencap have developed and are delivering training courses to early years, childcare and education professionals throughout Northern Ireland. By upskilling professionals and raising awareness of learning disability, our aim is to improve outcomes for children with learning disability and their families that are accessing mainstream and specialist early years services. More information and booking details can be accessed via the below link. Areas Covered: • Mencap Children’s Centre- Belfast and South Eastern Trust Areas • Early Years practitioner training- All Trust areas • Family Support Programme: Belfast and Western Trust areas for courses and workshops; all Trust areas for listening ear support and access to online resources • Youth Services covers Greater Belfast area, Fermanagh and L/Derry.

Available to Age Groups
• Mencap Children’s Centre and Early Years Services: 2-4 years • Mencap Family Support programme: 0-7 years • Mencap Youth Services: 14 to 24 years
Category of Services
  • Disability - Learning Disability, Autism, ADHD
Areas covered
  • Belfast
Method of Access (Referral)
  • GP
  • School
  • Self
  • Social Worker

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