Watford Mencap: Enriching the lives of people who have a learning disability

Watford Mencap will soon be moving into its new community hub, thanks to a £1.04m loan from Charity Bank. The hub will bring all the charity’s services together in one place and be used by more than 200 children and 600 adults.

Social Problem

Everyone deserves the chance to make friends, learn new skills and enjoy life. However, people who have a learning disability can feel excluded from social activities and struggle to access support.


Watford Mencap offers a wide range of activities for children and adults who have a learning disability. From quizzes and youth clubs to discos, bowling, gardening and fitness classes, there’s something on offer for every age and taste. While some of the charity’s face-to-face activities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Watford Mencap has continued to support hundreds of local people throughout Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere.


Watford Mencap’s children’s services centre was old and outdated. The roof leaked and the rooms were cold and draughty. It was also on a busy main road, had limited car parking and very little outdoor space. The charity wanted to bring its services and offices together into one community hub. With the help of a £1.04m loan from Charity Bank, Watford Mencap has bought a much larger building with a vast garden and plenty of car parking spaces. Renovation work is now underway, and the charity is looking forward to welcoming its clients to the new site from September 2021.


The new community hub will benefit hundreds of people every year. Long-term, Watford Mencap has ambitious plans to expand its services. It hopes to build supported accommodation on the site, giving young adults the chance to transition from the family home to independent living. These plans would never have been possible if Watford Mencap hadn’t bought a larger property.

“Charity Bank has been with us every step of the way. It’s been a very comfortable working relationship. Lee’s approach and ‘down to earthness’ was really appreciated. It felt like he was a colleague – part of the team that was making this all happen.”

Jane Pattinson, Chief Executive of Watford Mencap

“I have been coming to Watford Mencap for as long as I remember. My favourite things to do are bowling and golf and I really like to go to the Friday Night Club Nights that Watford Mencap run. My mum says that she gets a break when I go to activities run by Watford Mencap. I also have a break from my mum and get to spend time socialising with my friends.”

User of Watford Mencap

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.