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Leeds charity appeals for support for a cinema event for children with learning disabilities

Imagine not being able to go to the cinema as a family?

Leeds Mencap supports children with learning disabilities and their families across Leeds and for many of them, a family trip to the cinema is impossible.

Screenings can not only be too dark and too noisy … but 70% of parents have said they have felt unwelcome in public with their child who has a learning disability (according to Mencap research).

To help combat this social isolation, the charity is appealing for financial support to put on a special, relaxed screening of A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon this November, where the lights are adjusted, the sound lowered and everyone will be free to move around and make noise without being made to feel uncomfortable.

This event would give families like The Cravens the chance to enjoy a rare trip to the cinema together.

All three of Kate and Dave Craven’s children access Leeds Mencap services. Brothers Joshua and Oliver attend the charity’s Tuesday evening youth club for children aged 9-13 with additional needs, while their sister, Evelyn, recently joined the Siblings Support Group which caters for youngsters who have a brother or sister with a learning disability.

Mum Kate said: “A normal cinema screening can be difficult for children with special needs like our two boys – it can be either overwhelming or distracting. Oliver doesn’t like really loud noises and Joshua’s not keen on the dark. They struggle with sitting still and want to get up and move around.

“The Leeds Mencap film showing will be perfect for them. Not having any adverts before the film and altering the lighting and sound levels to suit the audience will make it a much more enjoyable and laid back experience for us.

“Please support this event so we – and many others – can spend some quality time together as a family doing something other families just take for granted.”

The charity is asking generous local people and companies to ‘buy’ places at the event for families facing the same hurdles as The Cravens.

Each place costs £30 and includes refreshments for the cinemagoer plus a donation towards Leeds Mencap’s services.

Created in 1953, Leeds Mencap provides support and activities at The Vinery Centre in East End Park to improve the lives and opportunities of local children and young adults with a learning disability.

It is a completely independent charity, working only in Leeds, which needs to secure all its own funding each year to continue its vital work.

To find out more, contact Nicky Massen on 0113 235 1331 or visit the charity’s website to make a donation.