Category: News

Category: News

Hill End Private Park

Like so many other things that have had to be cancelled since the start of the pandemic our usual Hill End Holiday residential camps loved by many are not possible this year but our holiday coordinators Katie and Matt have come up with the idea of ‘HILL End Private Park’.

Over the past few weeks we have been contacting our campers to see how they are. Many have been having a difficult time with all their usual activities shut down and some were keen that we offer something. After waiting to see if restrictions were to be lifted we have now decided to go ahead. We are all allowed to go to a park so long as we social distance so Hill End will be our private park open to our campers from 1.30-6.30 on the dates below. Everyone will have their own space and their own loo! Our leaders have been thinking up some great activities and entertainment.
Each guest needs to come with a parent or carer but the volunteers that they know will be there – just at the required distance. If you would like to come as a guest with a parent or carer or just want to know more do contact If you would like to volunteer it is the same email address.

The dates will be as follows:

Week 1 and Top Camp Tuesday 21st July – Saturday 25th July
Week 2 Tuesday 28th July – Saturday 4th August
Week 3 Tuesday 4th August – Saturday 8th August

How we plan to keep everyone safe:

Staying fit with Freddie!!

Freddie Wardlaw, an experienced personal trainer, is creating weekly workouts on YouTube for adults with learning disabilities. Each week we will put a new link on our website and Facebook page. The sessions are short, fun and easy to do!

Workout 1

Workout 2


It’s time to get your dancing shoes on for a night of boogieing, rocking and singing, every Friday 6pm-7pmAll guests, carers, families and volunteers (past and present) are invited to join this disco extravaganza, to dance the night away! 🕺💃

The disco will be taking place over ZOOM, the virtual meeting platform so that we can maintain social distance but still have a great time together. If you want to join us  please email, who will send you an invite link and password to the disco. You need to set up ZOOM on your PC iPad or smartphone If you are unsure how to download or use Zoom, please let us know and we will guide you through the process!

We would LOVE your song requests! Therefore, at the end of your RSVP email please include at least one song that gets you moving or reminds you of Hill End Camp 🎶🎵

Please email or DM us if you have any questions or concerns. We want as many people as possible to join so please spread the word

Molly recommends putting it on gallery so you can see everyone dancing 🙂You can do this by putting it on full screen and clicking on the little grid square in the left hand corner.

Here is the link to the collaborative Spotify playlist which lists all the music that will be played so far: 

Please do let Molly know any music requests. Her email address is

Also dressing up and disco lights very much encouraged if you would like to! xx

Have fun see you there!!!

Fundraising in Lockdown

For as long as lockdown lasts I’m going to be taking on massive indoor endurance challenges, in order to raise money for Oxford District Mencap and the NHS Covid-19 Urgent appeal. As someone in the increased risk group, and an NHS employee, I am extremely aware of how important it is to stay inside right now. I hope that these challenges will raise funds to support those most affected by Covid and resulting lockdown, as well as helping to inspire people to keep fit and healthy without going outside.

My first challenge was to climb the height of the 3 Peaks of Great Britain (Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike) from my flat. I completed 624 flights of stairs, 930 big box steps, and 1240 medium box steps. As I was climbing on steps and stairs instead of an actual mountain, the rate of ascent was much higher a d more sustained than normal, plus I didn’t take many breaks to take photos or look at the views. As a result I took only just over 6 hours to complete the full ascent and descent (although spread into chunks over 48 hours), whereas the total of my ascent/descent times for the real hills is about 11 hours… I also climbed the height of all 3 mountains from sea-level, whereas in the actual 3-Peaks challenge walkers start at car parks which are above sea level, so I did more climbing than I would have if I’d done the actual 3-Peaks. My legs definitely felt the extra height and increased pace the day after and I was barely able to walk! Luckily both the challenge and the resulting imobility made lockdown a bit more bearable, as I was perfectly happy to stay inside on my sofa when I wasn’t climbing!

On Thursday as part of the Ordnance Survey ‘GetOutside Inside’ campaign I completed another hill in my lunch break. As it was a work day it was a smaller hill, but I managed the height of Ben A’an, one of my favourites up in the Highlands. I will be clocking up my total height climbed over lockdown to see if I can manage the height of Everest!

My next challenge will be to complete an Ironman indoors– 2 hours of ‘frontcrawl stroke’ using resistance bands, 112 miles on my turbo trainer (for indoor cycling), and then a marathon complying with lockdown exercise guidelines.

If you want to follow my challenges, suggest the next challenge, or support me (and much more importantly the work of ODM and the Covid-19 Urgent Appeal*) then please have a look at my fundraising page:

*The majority of all donations go to ODM, and no money goes to virgin or admin fees

Coronavirus Information

This is a very worrying time for us all and we know that some of our families are concerned about how their children/relatives with a learning disability would cope if they needed hospital admission, especially as patients do not seem to be allowed to have family members with them.

Copied below is some useful information from Oxford University Hospitals which ‘Down’s Syndrome Oxford’ are very happy to share with you. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, there is also a link to a hospital passport to fill in, which would be very helpful to hospital staff who might be caring for a child or adult with a learning disability.

There is also information available on the Royal National Mencap website:

Since our email about hospitalization yesterday we have received some important extra information from Rowena Roberton, nurse practitioner for children with Down’s syndrome at the John Radcliffe hospital.  She’s been in touch with Stephanie Ross, adult learning disability nurse, Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) who has confirmed that:

“The visitor restrictions will not directly apply to carers. As an organisation, we value the important role of family carers and support workers to provide care and advocate for the people they care for, and view this role as different to visitors. We will continue to work with carers and ward staff to assess individuals needs at this time, and establish what is required to meet needs and minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

“The Learning Disability Liaison Nurse team can support in identifying needs and how we can best meet them. We appreciate that the availability of family carers and support workers will be changing as the current situation unfolds, and each situation will be different. Having Hospital Passports and care plans ready to bring in will be very helpful.”

Stephanie Ross is happy to answer any questions. She can be reached on 01865 743324 or 07795 120853. Another helpful contact could be adult learning disability epilepsy nurse, Jackie Roberts. Her number is 01865 221137.

Stephanie Ross has asked for the Learning Disability (LD) team to be contacted if an adult is admitted into the OUH and they will support the wards in making sure the patient’s needs are met. They are available Monday to Friday.

Things are changing all the time and being reviewed but at the moment they are welcoming carers for patients with a learning disability. It is great to see there is a LD team who have a presence in the trust and will be able to support families during this time.

Just to reassure parents or carers with under-age children with Down’s syndrome: as with adults, OUH are allowing one parent/carer per patient.

With best wishes,
DSO Trustees



It is with regret that we have decided that the 7 o clock club will be suspended for the time being due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

We know that many people will be disappointed but the alternative could put vulnerable people at risk. We hope to be up and running as soon as possible. Please check the website for updates.

Join us for A Night to Remember

If you would like to come to this wonderful evening of song and support Oxford and District Mencap, please go onto the Old Fire station website to buy tickets. All money from the ticket sales is going to Oxford and District Mencap as the hire of the venue has been generously paid for by donors. Thank you so much for all your support!

Three Peaks Challenge: Fundraise with us!!

A group of our holiday volunteers are going to attempt the Three Peaks 24hr Challenge from Saturday 2nd May 2nd – Sunday 4th May 2020. 

The Three Peaks 24hr Challenge involves 23 miles of walking up Snowden, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. We would love as many people involved as possible. If you fancy joining us on this exciting expedition, please contact

If you would like to sponsor the people taking part, please click on the following link: 

Medical Students Fundraiser

A big thank you to the Scottish Medical Students who took part in a fund raising sports tournament. A special thanks to Izzie Dighero who chose Oxford and District Mencap as one of the charities.