It is going to be difficult Christmas for many fami... - Mencap


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It is going to be difficult Christmas for many families. We’d like to help. Let us know what you would find most helpful.

Sarah_MencapSarah_MencapAdministrator14 Voters

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18 Replies

It’s just so upsetting for our young adult all swimming dancing etc etc cancelled

Help to visit my daughter in the care home with a screen we can both see through (the new one they have installed is so thick that I can’t see her, let alone her seeing me (she’s only partially sighted), can’t talk or walk unaided and I can’t get closer than 2 metres outside . We work on touch. She’s usually at home a third of her time but not since March and she can’t understand what’s happened.

Sue Cooke

Sarah_MencapAdministrator in reply to belleJmum

Hello belleJmum This must be so hard for you. Thank you for sharing this here.

Don’t cut communications with people who need you!

I know services are being stopped during lockdown. If you care about mental health you should be there 24/7

Sarah_MencapAdministrator in reply to Ohno60

Hello Ohno60

Some services can't run at the moment because of the government's restrictions. This is very difficult for so many people. I am really sorry if you affected by this.

If you are worried about your mental health please do let your GP know how you are feeling.

You can also contact our Learning Disability Helpline. Our advisors are available from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. You can get in touch by phoning 0808 808 1111 or email

The Learning Disability Helpline is a very busy service that helps as many people as they can. However, it is not a crisis service, and it cannot always respond straight away to urgent issues.

You can always contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or email They are available 24 hours a day.

There is also SHOUT ( - if you are struggling to cope and need to talk, their trained Shout Volunteers are available, day or night.

Text them on 85258.

I hope this helps a little.


I would like Mencap as an organisation to exert continuing pressure on Government to pay disabled people who are receiving ESA the same additional payment to meet the extra costs of Covid that people who are on UC are receiving. Backdated.

Many disabled people are struggling with the extra costs of Covid and this blatant discrimination will make for a bleak Christmas for many. It seems like organisations like Mencap have raised the issue and then rolled over without a fight. 😢

Hello - you raise a really good point here. I'll pass your feedback on to our policy team. I don't work on this particular issue, but I agree with you that it's very unfair.

Hello again. Just wanted to let you know I spoke to our policy team and I can confirm that we are continuing the fight for an uplift to benefits like ESA through our work with the Disability Benefits Consortium (we sit on the Steering Group).

In fact we are just starting a renewed push and are working with other organisations like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on this issue too.

Click here to watch a video we made with DBC about this:

Best wishes, Victoria

Thank you Victoria. This is really important for many people with learning difficulties and their families who are struggling to cope with the extra costs of Covid. I know that the DSA think this is hugely unfair too, but nearly 9 months on, we are still missing out. Fingers crossed!

We need our adult sons/daughters home at Xmas. Why are us family members not treat the same as support staff? Why aren’t we allowed into their homes ( one person from family) or vice versa, as long as we follow the rules, wear ppe, hand washing, social distancing. We have been main Carers most of their lives, yet complete strangers are allowed in and out due to staff shortages. They are definitely putting our loved ones more at risk and they must know this, as well as seriously damaging their mental health. 9 months down the line and nothing has changed, I’m speaking on behalf of those who DON’T have underlying health issues as I understand those that do need more extreme protection, but so many don’t have and need to come home.

Hi Sarah, This forum is very helpful and I hope you continue with it. One thing that would help me and perhaps others is clarification about the rules. For example, the new lockdown rules say support bubbles continue but to avoid travel out of your local area. We're in a support bubble with my son who lives outside my area. Can I still drive down the motorway to see him?

Sarah_MencapAdministrator in reply to Annonymouse

Hello Annonymouse

I will ask the helpline for clarification about this. You won't be alone, other people must be in a similar situation.

We have just created an Easy Read document about the new lockdown rules. Here is a link to the post about it -

I hope it helps a little.


Dear Sarah,

Thank you. I'm probably being dense. To me the easy read doc contains the same contradictions:

"It's ok to leave your home: To visit people in your support bubble."

"You should not travel in or out of your local area."

"There are some times when you can travel. It's ok to travel: To see people in your support bubble."

Does "it's ok to travel" mean travel anywhere, travel in your local area, or travel out of your local area?

Confused of Devon. (Anthony)

Hello Annonymouse,

Hope all is well. It is a good question. From what I have read there is no limit on the distance but it does say you should try to "stay local" where possible to help prevent spread. As long as you live in the same country it should be fine. If you live in England you wouldn't be able to bubble with anyone in Wales or Scotland. If anything changes I'll let you know. I hope this helps.


Hi Kieran,

Thank you. I live in Devon and my son lives in Wiltshire, so yes, we are all in England.

If I'm driving up the M5 and get pulled over by the fuzz, I'd like to be able to point to the text that says it's ok. Do you know of any official statements that are clear on this point?

Best wishes,


Thanks Anthony, I hope this link helps

Have a good day


Dear Kieran, Thank you for your help. I hadn't seen that page.

In our particular case I think it means we're on slightly dodgy ground.

"The government recommends that you form a support bubble with a household that lives locally wherever possible."

For various reasons, we formed a support bubble with my son even though other relations are much nearer to him. Then again, it's only a recommendation, and also having formed a bubble...

"From 14 September, if you form or continue in a support bubble, you cannot then change your support bubble."

So as far as I can tell we're arguably in the wrong to visit him because we shouldn't have formed a support bubble with him, but isn't clearly forbidden by the rules.

Thanks again for your help.


I would like to see mencap fighting for concessions for family units that have a disabled person in the household.. in my case we are two adults - disabled person and carer.. which means we can only form a bubble with a single adult. as the rest of my family are not single adults.. we cant mix. If the disabled person was living in supported living with 100s of different carers coming through, he would be seen as single and would be able to form a support bubble. Where is the logic in that? unpaid carers living at home with the disabled person are losing out and are very isolated.