About Mencap In Kirklees

About us

Mencap in Kirklees, supporting people with a learning disability.

As a local charity with our heritage going back 75 years our focus has always been, and will continue to be, improving the lives of people with a learning disability. We are proud to say we have always been led by people with learning disabilities and their families, and we still are, working together co-producing everything we provide.

We strive to offer lots of different activities and support options to suit individuals. We know everyone is different and unique and we offer lots of options… from our active More2do group who meet twice a week and arrange weekend trips awayto our evening and weekend groups that regularly take part in different activities each week

As a local charity, we rely on the support of our local community and are always keen to work together to raise funds and share knowledge and experience.If you are a local business or school and think you could support us please contact us or complete the contact form below.If you have any ideas that you feel could benefit us please do let us know we are keen to work in partnership with our local communities.

Mencap in Kirklees is a local charity providing a range of services in Kirklees, supporting adults who have a learning disability and their families (carers).

If you are someone who needs support or you know of someone that does, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we can discuss how we can support you.

01484 340811 or email info@mencapinkirklees.org.uk

Our Heritage

Mencap In Kirklees has been coproducing life changing outcomes with people with learning disabilities and their families for 75 years!

In 1946 a small group of parents got together to protest about lack of facilities for their ‘mentally handicapped’ children as they were then called. They were an extraordinary group of people who were determined to ensure that their children received the best opportunities they could create. 1946 was before the NHS and well before social services or anything like it in its present form. They were certain that they wanted their children to live with them in their family homes getting an education and living life the same as everyone else.

our history
Mrs Haigh on the left and Maude Cooper on the right.

In 1946 there were no schools for people with learning disabilities instead families were frequently encouraged to hand their child over to be cared for in an institution or hospital setting. Our founders supported each other and began running their own activities for the children. Over time this developed into The Huddersfield Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults who ran parents’ evenings and leisure activities. A key member of the group was Maude Cooper. Maude was a remarkable person – she campaigned tirelessly throughout her long life to get the best opportunities for her daughter Jean. Maude’s determined spirit was long lasting as she lived until she was 108!

The family members worked together and at Waverley Hall in Huddersfield ran leisure clubs, and social and evening clubs enabling people with learning disabilities and their families to spend time together, support one another and have fun. They raised funds and bought a chalet by the coast to enable families to get a much-needed break by the sea.

Becoming a Support Provider

Over the years the families worked with new partners in the NHS and Social Services as these organisations developed.

In the 1980’s we took the brave step of becoming a support provider. We wanted to put all the knowledge we had built up over the years to create real change for people.

We worked very closely with colleagues at Kirklees Social Services on the development of newly created “Community Care”. This new way of working fitted so well with what the families had campaigned for over 4 decades. Large hospital settings began to close and we reached out to offer “group homes” where people with learning disabilities could live in their local communities in ordinary housing. This led to the first group home in the area at Dryclough in Crosland Moor. In 1986 we worked in partnership with the NHS who funded the refurbishment of our premises at Waverley Hall to create the first day-service for people with learning disabilities run by the voluntary sector.

Continuing to Grow

More group homes were created and we opened two more day services to meet people’s needs. As we entered the 1990’s in the recognition that social care was improving and offering more choice we provided a “community support service” across Kirklees to enable people with learning disabilities to live independently in their own flats and houses.


In 1996 to celebrate fifty years of supporting people with a learning disability we set up the Full Body and the Voice Theatre Company based at The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. This company proved so successful that they were able to become independent and have continued to this day as the award-winning Dark Horse Theatre Company.

Diversifying in to Employment Training

Moving again with the changing and growing priorities of social care we ran the Oddjob Handyperson and Gardening Employment Training Schemes and later opened our own Waverley Cafe as a base for our Catering Employment Training Scheme. These working opportunities were highly valued by the people we support.

Sadly, funding was not sustainable for these schemes but we would be very keen to set up such services again when resources enable us to do so.

Leisure Clubs

Our social and leisure clubs continued to thrive and we continue to run evening leisure clubs, keep fit groups, walking groups, and supported leisure schemes.


In 2008 Huddersfield Mencap, as we were then known, merged with Share to form Mencap in Kirklees. This led to us running services on a Kirklees-wide basis. #TeamMiK was born! We were able to ensure that we could support people across Kirklees tailoring our support to what was needed across the area.

Staff & Volunteers

In the early days and for more than 3 decades, all of our services were provided totally by volunteers. As we have grown and developed our offer to people with learning disabilities across Kirklees we now have a staff team of well over 125 people. However, our mission has not changed.

We still believe in working together to create opportunities. We have never forgotten our history and constantly strive to make things better. We want to remember the past, reflect on how far we have travelled and build for the future. We value our volunteers very highly, whether they support on a one to one basis or add extra value to day services, leisure groups and care homes.

We especially thank our Board Members. All of whom are volunteers tirelessly giving up their time, knowledge and experience to ensure Mencap in Kirklees is delivering the best possible support we can.

Moving Forward:

Here’s to another 75 years!!


We will continue to innovate and work with the people we support and their families to keep evolving and creating new opportunities, working together as we have done for 75 years. We celebrate our heritage and look to the future.


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