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HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh visits Elmbridge Mencap – Elmbridge Mencap

HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh visits Elmbridge Mencap

HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh visited  Burview Hall, Walton-on-Thames on 18th January 2024, a specialist facility run by Elmbridge Mencap.

Elmbridge Mencap supports children and adults who have learning disabilities, together with their parents and carers in Elmbridge and the surrounding areas.  The charity offers a variety of specialist facilities, interactive sensory rooms, events and activities as well as practical help and advice.

Accompanied by Paula Walsh, Chair of Elmbridge Mencap; Sarah Tomkins, Chairman of The Walton Charity and Karen Heynike, Green Spaces Manager Walton Charity, The Duchess met with Trustees, staff, volunteers and clients of Elmbridge Mencap, learning about the services and facilities the charity offers to its members, whilst enjoying a cup of tea. 

The current Burview Hall was opened on 23rd September 2000, replacing a 1960s prefabricated building with a modern, multi-purpose facility which exclusively supports adults and children with learning disabilities, along with their carers. Elmbridge Mencap raised funds over a 4-year period in order to create a sensory garden to provide a safe, restful and stimulating environment for its members.

A day service was launched in November 2022 which has grown exponentially over the last 14 months.  The clients and their carers have reported a significant increase in their self-esteem, self-confidence and general health and well-being.

Her Royal Highness enjoyed playing table football and helped prepare some cookies with clients of Elmbridge Mencap’s Day Service and was taken on a tour of the sensory garden.

Paula Walsh, Chair of Elmbridge Mencap charity said “It was a privilege to introduce The Duchess of Edinburgh to some of our clients, staff and volunteers at Elmbridge Mencap and to highlight the important work we do in supporting children and adults with learning disabilities, and their parents and carers, in our local area”.

As it was two days before her birthday, Her Royal Highness was presented with a birthday cake, before being waved on her way by the Trustees, staff, volunteers and members.

Val Wisdom, the Day Service Manager added “When our clients heard the wonderful news that The Duchess of Edinburgh was to visit our Day Service, they have been bursting with excitement!  The opportunity to create a Birthday banner for The Duchess gave them a real sense of pride and honour.  A day they will always remember fondly.”

It was The Duchess of Edinburgh’s first visit to the Burview Hall and Her Royal Highness continues her work as Patron of the wider learning disability charity Royal Mencap Society.

All photos courtesy of Steve Porter