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Essex Mencap

Family Support Service


In conjunction with Essex Mencap, Southend Mencap and Colchester Gateway Clubs are able to offer a Family Support Service for all people with a learning disability.  They can support people who might not otherwise find an independent voice and/or might be ignored or forgotten.


They can ensure people know their rights and have the information to make informed choices.  They can empower people to speak up for their rights, making sure that their needs are met and the services they need are provided.  Some of the issues they can help you with include:

  • benefits

  • day services/access to other services

  • accommodation

  • employment

  • choices eg holidays

  • conflict resolution with families

  • conflict resolution within the immediate communtiy

  • understanding money/fincance

  • sexuality and relationships


Family Support Workers follow a code of good practice and will always discuss all information in the strictest confidence.


The Family Support Workers offer free confidential and independent information on virtually any issue, which impacts on the lives of people with a learning disability and/or  their carers, including older carers.  Support will be given in an effective and practical manner, by the most appropriate means, either over the telephone, via email or by home visits.


Southend Area including Basildon

Carole Edwards

Tel 01702 334514



Colchester and Tendring Area

Victoria Gamble

Tel: 07710 177050



What is PIP?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit paid to people who have daily living and/or mobility needs to help with the extra costs of long-term illness or disability.  It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people between the ages of 16 and 64 (or who were under 65 on 8 April 2013).  PIP s available for new claimants.  the DWP (Department of Works and Pensions) are in the process of reassessing exising working age DLA claimants for PIP.


PIP can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit.  You can get PIP even if you are working or studying.  If you are a carer who has care needs, you can cliam PIP for yourself and this will not affect your Carer's Allowance.


Getting PIP does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them.  If you have a carer then claiming PIP may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carers Allowance).  PIP may also entitle you and/or your carer to further help with council tax.


There are no restrictions on how you can spend your PIP money, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need.  However, your council or trust can take PIP into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services you receive.


For more information:

Carers Support

Do you look after someone?


In Essex, around 180,000 people provide unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend, either in their own home or somewhere else.  It can be difficult to recognise yourself as a carer; you might think your're just being a good friend, neighbour or spouse and are 'just doing what needs to be done'.


'Caring' for someone covers lots of different things, like helping with their washing, dressing or eating, taking them to regular appointments or keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.


'Supporting Carers in Essex' can offer you support in carrying our this role - why not take a look at their website or give them a call on 03007709090, they offer a range of services and skills that you may find useful in difficult times

Housing Register

If you are registered on the housing register with Braintree District Council please be aware that you need to re-register every year.


There are currently 2500 people on the register an Braintree District Council recieve around 200 applications for housing per month.

Registered Charity No: 1108097

Essex Mencap is the copyright holder of this site and content may not be copied without permission - 2016

Changing Places - Toilet Facilities

Its not nice to get caught short looking for a toilet when you are out and about but its even harder if you have someone with you who has a disability and needs somewhere different to a standard public loo.  Well the answer could be just around the corner by accessing a Changing Places toilet - take a look at their website where you will find more information.  You could also print of a list of locations in Essex by clicking here

Local  Action Groups - LAGs

Local Action Groups (LAGs) were set up throughout Essex by the County Council over 10 years ago. They are independent of the Council and they are asked to identify gaps in services and to help with developing solutions to problems and improving access to services for people with a learning disability and their families.


LAGs try to bring together everybody who provides or uses services in their area. They make recommendations to the Council about improvements which are needed and are used by the Council as a sounding board for changes which are proposed.


The Council made the decision at the outset that people chosen as Chairs of LAGs should be entirely independent. Membership includes parent/carers, people with a learning disability, and representatives of social services, health, Local  Council Housing, voluntary organisations and providers of services. Meetings are open and public and so anybody interested in the way learning disability services are run is welcome to attend.  Please see below details of LAG groups in your area and a list of forthcoming meetings - please feel free to attend any meeting to either listen, take part in discussion or to raise an issue.  


For information regarding meeting venues, dates and times please take a look at Local Action Group page under Local Groups on this website.

Do you ever ask the question....     Am I a carer?

If you are not sure here is how to find out!

The NHS Essex Partnership University have produced a great easy read resource that could help you answer the question.  Click here to view it

B & Q Community Reuse Scheme

The scheme is in place to donate unsellable products and materials for re-use by local community groups for the benefit of the local community and the environment.  These items are donated on the understanding that they will be re-used or disposed of responsibly if they are not used.  For more information please contact your local store directly and speak to a duty manager.