Background, history, development and direction
Menphys started providing services in February 1970 by opening a playgroup for 12 children with a range of mental and physical disabilities. By the time it was registered as a charity in March 1976, Menphys had become a limited company running two nurseries. In the spring of 1978, its first purpose-built nursery opened in Wigston. The second, adjacent to Sketchley Hill Primary School in Burbage, was opened in 1992.
Two years later and with both nurseries at capacity and under local education authority control, Menphys set up a Special Outreach Service; this was our major area of operations.
Through the Menphys Special Outreach Service, we support more than 500 families every year, delivering early support, family support, welfare benefits advice, and inclusion opportunities through our “I Can do it too” taster activities (play, sport, leisure and cultural activities).
In 2008, the original playgroup transformed into two Saturday morning activity clubs, which currently cater for 23 disabled children, young people and adults.
A short-term project (3yrs) externally funded in which we employed a Talent Match Key Worker to support young adults aged 18-24 into education, employment or training.
As part of a service restructure in 2015 a Help-Line was launched in November 2015 for parents-carers and professionals in Leicestershire and Leicester.
In 2016, Menphys employed an Independence and Inclusion Team Leader. The purpose of the post is to be responsible for transforming, growing and coordinating the following development areas of Menphys Inclusion and Independence Services, the Menphys Saturday Clubs, the “I Can Do It Too” taster activity scheme and develop a Support and Befriending Scheme.
In 2017 Leicestershire County Council informed us that our contract, which substantially funded the Menphys Special Outreach Service would end on the 31st December 2017. Since July 1995 the service has supported 5,400 disabled children, young people and their families. The services included the Menphys SOS Help-Line, Early Support, Family Support, “I Can Do it Too” taster activity scheme, Family Activity Days, Inclusion, Benefits and Grants Advice, Together for Families Support Groups, Specialist Summer Scheme Coordination, and more. It was with sadness that this part of our service provision has had to come to an end.
In 2018 we will be embarking on an exciting period of change, which will give us an ideal opportunity to ensure that our future services meet the needs of disabled children and young people now and in the future.
Despite being a small charity, Menphys aims to be at the forefront of change and our future direction and development is underpinned by our vision and mission statement.