Wendy Allen Award

Each year Reading Mencap awards a 'Volunteer of the Year' award in memory of Wendy Allen. 

Wendy, who had a learning disability, was an outstanding volunteer, working at our Bubble Club devotedly each week for 25 years.  Her dad Keith would bring her down and together they would help the club leader to set up the play equipment every Thursday morning.  Wendy always had a smile for everyone, she was also a familiar face at other activities at 21 Alexandra Road.  We feel that her devotion to Reading Mencap was inspirational and through this award we will remember her every year when we pick our 'volunteer of the year'.

Wendy sadly passed away unexpectedly in 2011.  Eva and Keith, Wendy's parents kindly donated the proceeds of a collection in Wendy's name which helped us to update our IT systems giving a much needed boost to the Society.

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Double celebration of achievement for Reading Mencap 

agm photo collage 2017

It’s been a double celebration for Reading Mencap – with awards to mark the amazing contribution made by its volunteers and a special cake to commemorate a remarkable milestone – its 55th anniversary.

Reading Mencap, which was established by a group of parents in 1962, has experienced highs and lows over its 55-year history.

While the quality of life for people with a learning disability has greatly improved since the 1960s, they still encounter barriers to living happy and fulfilled lives, as they often face discrimination, isolation and poverty.

However, the current team are united in their desire to ensure the charity’s long-term sustainability as the economic climate shows no signs of making things easier for local charities or people with disabilities and are confident that Reading Mencap is in good shape to face the future.

Awards presented at its AGM by Chair of the Trustees, Leslie Macdonald, included the special Wendy Allen* award, Best Newcomer, You’re a Star as well as awards for outstanding contribution to clubs, Team Mencap and for long service.

The special Wendy Allen Award* for Volunteer of the Year was won by Kay Smith for her commitment, hard work and ‘can-do’ attitude.

Kay helps out at the ME Day Activity Service on a weekly basis and is described by members and colleagues as a kind, friendly and caring individual who always puts the needs of others before her own.

She is very patient when taking part in activities with members and helps them to have lots of fun – the Thursday group always begs her to stay when she has to leave!

They said: “All of this makes Kay a very special volunteer, who we are all in agreement, deserves an equally special award for her efforts.”

Jess Cox, who volunteers with the Gateway Club, was recognised for her outstanding contribution.

Jess, who club members describe as kind, caring and approachable is a popular volunteer because of her enthusiasm and willingness to provide positive encouragement to members who feel unsure about an activity.

Members of the Gateway Club said: “Jess is always cheerful and willing to help out during the evening in any way she can, be it a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or someone to play games with.”

Other recipients recognised for their outstanding contribution to clubs included Mary Williams for her dedication to the ME Day Activity Service and Hayley Jenkins and Mandy Anderson for going above and beyond their duties at Gateway Club.

Andy Pipistrelli was voted You’re a Star by service users who are grateful to him for always going the extra mile to drive them to activities and events in the Reading Mencap minibus.

The Best Newcomer award went to Katherine Foley, for her enthusiastic volunteering with the Saturday Club and for her great fundraising for the charity - securing a £500 donation from her employer, selling raffle tickets, doing tin shakes and coming up with new ideas.

Champion fundraiser Lee Duff, who raised an impressive £2,475 by completing the tough Velothon Wales cycling challenge, also won the Wendy Allen Award. Lee is tireless in his efforts to support Reading Mencap after being inspired to fundraise by his sister-in-law Linda, who has Down’s Syndrome, and who attends the ME Day Activity Service.

Other members were also presented with Team Mencap awards for the contribution they have made to the smooth running of clubs and events and for their support with fundraising. An award was also made to one special member who always has a smile on her face and makes an outstanding contribution to brightening everyone's day!

Long-serving volunteers were also presented with awards in recognition of their commitment and dedication. 

Five hardworking members have also been appointed as Ambassadors for the charity. They will help with campaigning, fundraising and spreading the word in the community about the work of Reading Mencap.

*The late Wendy Allen, who had a learning disability, was an outstanding volunteer who supported Reading Mencap devotedly on a weekly basis for 25 years.  55 group cake