Getting arty in Merton for Learning Disability Awareness Week 2021

We are celebrating the theme of art and creativity for Learning Disability Awareness Week 2021, which started yesterday and ends 20 June.

The council is celebrating the theme along with Mencap Merton – who is commissioned by the council and have an array of exciting events happening at all three day centres in Merton.

Art and creativity has helped many people with a learning disability, their families and friends stay connected and positive throughout the challenges of 2020 and COVID-19 across the UK.

Day services in Merton have been getting ready for Learning Disability Awareness Week. All three day centres including JMC, All Saints and Leyton Road have activities on all week involving art and craft. At JMC, creative team games have been organised for everyone and the highlight of the week will be the painting of a mural.

At All Saints, customers are re-vamping old furniture, pots and other items to give them a new lease of life. There will also be team games at all sites and online via Zoom.

Councillor Rebecca Lanning, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said:

“There is a wealth of great talent in the learning disability community in Merton and creativity plays a huge role in people’s lives. I am therefore delighted that this year’s theme reminds people that self-expression is really important and can help improve mental health and wellbeing. I encourage everyone to contribute to that theme in a way that suits them – whether it’s through art, music, drama or another form of artistic expression.”

The council is currently looking for views on its learning disabilities services from people who have learning disabilities, their families, carers and the professionals who support them. People can get involved in the ‘Big Conversation’ by visiting here and filling in one of the 7 surveys related to them.

Chief Executive of Mencap Merton, Andy Whittington said:

“Learning Disability Awareness Week is a great way to raise awareness of learning disability across the UK. This year, at Merton Mencap, we will be holding some activities which people of all ages can participate in. We will also be recognising Learning Disability Awareness Week by launching an exciting new way for people to get involved in our activities – look out for further news on our website and social media.”

As part of Learning Disability Awareness Week 2021, Merton Mencap will be launching an accessible art competition next week for children and adults with learning disabilities and/or autism and family carers. The charity will be working with Merton to appoint a panel of judges with a learning disability to select the winners and runners up.

Merton Mencap is teaming up with its counterparts at Sutton and Croydon Mencap to bring an online event for its members, where people with learning disabilities and/or autism will have the opportunity to talk about their achievements as a celebration of peoples’ interests and lives.

Merton Mencap is also marking Learning Disability Awareness Week by launching an exciting new way for their members to get healthy and active.

The closing date for the Big Conversation is mid-July and for anyone who would like to take part, there are a range of options online, including arranging meetings in small groups. 

If people have no internet access, they can call Debbie John from Community Catalysts, a social enterprise involved with the council and the Big Conversation, on 07990 515632 to discuss other options to suit them.

For more information on Learning Disability Awareness Week visit here

For further information on Merton Mencap’s art competition, please contact Maria Solari on 07709 715206 and

To find out how Merton Mencap is helping its members become more fit and healthy, visit their website here