60 Years On for Watford Mencap

Watford Mencap was founded in 1951 and will be turning 60 next year. To celebrate, a short film has been created to show how different life was for people with learning disabilities 60 years ago.

Radio journalist Judi Herman interviews two mothers from the Watford area who have both had a child with Downs Syndrome.

Isabel Backman, one of the earliest members of Watford Mencap, had her daughter Irene 60 years ago. She explains how different everything was and how she received very little support. In fact, a doctor told her to put the child away and have another. At that time, many people with a learning disability were shut away in long-stay institutions such as Leavesden and Harperbury.

Angelina Sclafani-Murphys son Liam is now aged 17 months. She explains the great support that her family receives today from Watford Mencap and other agencies, and her aspirations for Liams future.

This powerful film, made by Brett Lenman of BSL Video and believed to be one of the first to show carers experiences across the years, is now available to the public. Please click on the link below to see it:

Watford Mencap's Diamond Jubilee Film

Watford Mencap would like to thank all the participants who gave their time to make this film. Funding Manager Veronica Chamberlain explains, Supporting a child with a learning disability is a lifelong commitment. We are grateful to Isabel and Angelina for telling their stories, as well as to Judi for giving us her journalistic expertise.

Posted on Tuesday, 2nd November 2010