Members of the Lisburn and
District Mencap Society with Lisburn Mayor
Councillor Jantes Tinsley
and Alderman Paul Porter at a recent reception
to mark the closing of the Society.
AFTER nearly 50 years of active fundraising
and campaigning Lisburn and District Mencap Society will close
its books on Wednesday February 13.
The organisation was originally Lisburn
Parents' Group and was formed to help bring the learning
disabled out of the dark ages and into their rightful place in
The founder members were Annabel Poots MBE
and her late husband Mr Cairnduff, Mrs Laura Kane and her late
husband David, the late Mr and Mrs McMaster, the late Mrs
McIlroy, and the late Mr and Mrs McGaughey.
They campaigned for some day care services
which began as a few hours a week in 'The Raggedy Bap' in Chapel
Hill, a small room with bare floors and no facilities or
activities, and they had to fundraise for even the basic items
Over the years many hours were spent
fundraising for equipment and in talks with the relevant
authorities for better facilities, and eventually Wallace Avenue
Day Care Centre was purpose-built to provide places for 50
adults, while Parkview School was opened for children under the
care of the Health Authority. In later years the group
affiliated to Mencap NI and became known as Lisburn and District
Other successes for the group include
increasing the school leaving age to 19 and campaigning for the
complete renovation and extension of LARC.
Before winding up the group, the members
expressed their thanks to everyone who has supported them over
the years, including Lisburn .City Council. Jacqueline Wood,
Chairperson of the group, also paid tribute to Alderman Paul
Porter and Vice Chair Anne Blake.
"Paul Porter has given unstintingly of his
time since the very clay he was first elected, she said.
"1 also pay tribute to our Vice-chair Anne
Blake who has been the driving force within our Society in
recent years, bringing her expertise and experience when it was
most needed. She has gone on to Chair Lisburn Carers' Forum for
Learning Disability and, with her secretary Valerie Martin, has
been influential in setting up and running of. Lisburn Advocacy
Group which has helped endless people with learning disabilities