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History.of Harpenden Mencap


Eight local parents of children with a mental handicap (learning disability) met, at the instigation of Judy Fryd, to discuss forming the Society for Mentally Handicapped Children. On 18 March 1959 the Society was inaugurated with twenty members and funds of £30. Fundraising began, followed by organised activities such as outings, parties and the playgroup. These continued successfully, but the committee had a vision of establishing their own centre to provide day care and emergency relief.


This vision was eventually realised when Stairways was opened by Lord Renton, to provide short-term care for ten children at a time.


The Society recognised that there was a very real need for long-term care accommodation for adults with a wide range of disabilities. Once again members began the onerous task of raising funds to convert and extend the original house.


  • Early in the year the new short stay unit had reduced to six beds.
  • Eight people had gradually moved into their new homes.
  • The Society successfully applied to St Albans District Council to rent a flat in Southdown. This allowed two people to live more independently.


  • To support its fundraising efforts, the Society opened its Charity Shop, Roundabout.
  • Occupation Opportunities was introduced to provide support to people with learning disabilities to learn the skills required to help in the shop and to provide a shopping service to elderly / housebound people.


Harpenden Mencap bought an additional site in Carlton Road and obtained planning permission to build a block of 11 individual flats. Work on the new premises has already started. 


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Registered Charity No. 1035252
A Company Limited by Guarantee, No.2903642 Registered in England and Wales.
Address: "Stairways", 19 Douglas Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2EN
Telephone: (01582) 460055 Extn.8
Email: office@harpendenmencap.co.uk
Copyright © 2008, 2013 Harpenden Mencap Society, All rights reserved.