Equal Choices • Equal Opportunities • Ordinary Lives
Our ambition is for a future full of equal choices and opportunities for disabled children, young people and their families, empowering them to live as ordinary lives as possible and aspiring for the extraordinary
Individuals • Safeguarding • Teamwork • Confidential • Partnership
Our mission is to deliver a quality service that values the views and enables the voice of disabled children, young people and their families in Leicestershire and Leicester. We aim to provide a range of holistic, impartial and empowering specialist services through our own resources and in partnership with the statutory authorities and other voluntary sector groups.
Within the framework of everything we do, we aim to identify unmet need and offer effective support, which is in step with current legislation and concepts of good practice.
We value diversity and believe that every child or young person, whatever their needs, has the equal right to take part fully in their community and to have the same choices, opportunities and experiences as other children.
Menphys is a local charity that provides a range of specialist services to support children and young adults with additional needs and disabilities and their families.
It has been supporting families across Leicester and Leicestershire for 50 years, striving to give young people equal choices, equal opportunities to allow them to live ordinary lives.
Menphys Ltd is a Registered Charity (no. 270700) and a Company Limited by Guarantee and is governed by an executive board consisting of 10 trustees, led by Mr Martin Traynor O.B.E, as the Chairman.
We work in partnership with:
Children, young people and young adults
Parents and carers
Contact A Family
Council for Disabled Children
Leicestershire and Leicester Parent Carer Participation Forums
Voluntary Action Leicestershire
Playgroup for 12 children
Registered as a private limited company
Registered as a charity
Purpose-built nursery opened in Wigston
Sketchley Hill Primary School opened in Burbage
Saturday Morning Activity Clubs
Employed and independence and inclusion team leader
Relocated to Basset Street Community Hub
Menphys 50th anniversary, celebrating 50 years of Menphys
We have been providing care and support to Leicestershire families for over 50 years
Menphys started providing services in February 1970 when founder Audrey Smith opened a playgroup for 12 children with a range of mental and physical disabilities. By the time it was registered as a charity in March 1976, Menphys had become a limited company running two nurseries. In the spring of 1978, its first purpose-built nursery opened in Wigston. The second, adjacent to Sketchley Hill Primary School in Burbage, was opened in 1992.
Two years later and with both nurseries at capacity and under local education authority control, Menphys set up a Special Outreach Service; this was our major area of operations.
Through the Menphys Special Outreach Service, we support more than 500 families every year, delivering early support, family support, welfare benefits advice, and inclusion opportunities through our “I Can do it too” taster activities (play, sport, leisure and cultural activities).
In 2008, the original playgroup transformed into two Saturday morning activity clubs, which currently cater for 23 disabled children, young people and adults.
A short-term project (3yrs) externally funded in which we employed a Talent Match Key Worker to support young adults aged 18-24 into education, employment or training.
As part of a service restructure in 2015 a Help-Line was launched in November 2015 for parents-carers and professionals in Leicestershire and Leicester.
In 2016, Menphys employed an Independence and Inclusion Team Leader. The purpose of the post is to be responsible for transforming, growing and coordinating the following development areas of Menphys Inclusion and Independence Services, the Menphys Saturday Clubs, the “I Can Do It Too” taster activity scheme and develop a Support and Befriending Scheme.
In 2017 Leicestershire County Council informed us that our contract, which substantially funded the Menphys Special Outreach Service would end on the 31st December 2017. Since July 1995 the service has supported 5,400 disabled children, young people and their families. The services included the Menphys SOS Help-Line, Early Support, Family Support, “I Can Do it Too” taster activity scheme, Family Activity Days, Inclusion, Benefits and Grants Advice, Together for Families Support Groups, Specialist Summer Scheme Coordination, and more. It was with sadness that this part of our service provision has had to come to an end.
In 2018 we will be embarking on an exciting period of change, which will give us an ideal opportunity to ensure that our future services meet the needs of disabled children and young people now and in the future.
Despite being a small charity, Menphys aims to be at the forefront of change and our future direction and development is underpinned by our vision and mission statement.
Our team members are dedicated to providing equal opportunities for families across the region
Menphys is governed by an executive board consisting of 11 trustees:
Chairman: Mr Ian Knight
Vice Chairman: Mr Nev Hammonds
Hon Treasurer: Mrs. Sandra Abraham
Company Secretary: Mr Nev Hammonds
Trustees: Mr Ian Knight, Ms. Margaret McGrath, Professor Wyn Rees, Ms. Amanda Daly, Mrs Emma Spradbury, Mrs Louise Marsden and Mrs Lisa Franklin
The following offices are also held:
Chief Executive Officer: Ian Caldwell
President: Jennifer, Lady Gretton, D.C.V.O., J.P.
Vice President: (Currently vacant following the death of Mrs Audrey Smith in February 2016)
Patron: Frances, the Duchess of Rutland
Jennifer, Lady Gretton, DCVO JP LLD (Hon) D Univ (Hon) Hon DLitt
Lady Gretton has received honorary degrees from all three Leicestershire Universities. She loves her sport, especially tennis when she has the time, music and singing with the Oakham School Choral Society. She is interested in all aspects of steam, helping to restore the Stapleford Miniature Railway and instigating the Stapleford Steam Rally in 1995.
Menphys’ Chair , Ian Knight is Leicestershire-born and bred and lives with his wife of 44 years, Aileen in Western Park, Leicester. They have two daughters and a son , all in their thirties. He qualified as a solicitor in 1978 and was a partner of Bray & Bray for 30 years, managing their Hinckley office. Upon retirement from the law, he was head of Leics. C.C. , Governor Development Service for 5 years. Ian’s involvement with Menphys commenced in the 1990s participating in the annual sponsored walk, becoming Chair of the walk in 2000.He has been a trustee of Menphys for over 20 years, serving as Chair 2015-2019 and from Jan. 2023. He was a school governor for over 20 years and recently retired as a trustee and secretary of a charity supporting elderly Catholic residents of West Leicester. His interests are mainly sporting as a past captain of Ashby R.F.C. and Loughborough Carillon C.C.
Chief Executive Officer
Ian has lived in Leicestershire for over 20 years and is married with two sons. A keen sports fan, he is a season ticket holder at Leicester Tigers with one of his sons and an avid supporter of his local rugby club in Syston. A Chartered Engineer, he has held various senior management positions in both large corporate organisations and SMEs prior to taking up the role of CEO with Menphys in November 2018. He is passionate about the local community and has been involved in a number of significant fundraising initiatives over the past 10 years.
Lucie has a Business Studies degree from De Montfort University, which she studied part-time while working full-time. Lucie has also part completed a Masters Degree in The Management of Human Resources, also at De Montfort University.
Before joining Menphys, Lucie has many years of experience within many industries, from computer programming, IT trainer, credit control, and most recently as an Office Manager for a small engineering firm within Leicestershire for 13 years. Her skill set is vast and will help support Menphys grow over the years to come.
In her spare time, Lucie can be found officiating basketball games at the highest level, she is a FIBA qualified table official, so not only does she officiate within the British Basketball League, but she has also officiated at international level.
Head of Services
Emma has a First Class honours degree in Childhood, Youth and Education from Liverpool Hope University and experience supporting children and young people both in and out of education. Before joining Menphys, Emma spent many years working in the private education sector, supporting children of all ages and abilities, specifically with SEND, with their educational journey. Emma has a personal commitment to making a difference and having an impact on the lives of the families we support and is looking forward to developing a wide range of offers and opportunities that can support young people throughout their journey to adulthood. Along with her team of Service Co-ordinators, Emma is looking forward to launching new initiatives and hosting activities and clubs for the whole family and developing the range of services Menphys has on offer.
Head of Retail
Laura joined our Retail sector of the Charity in June of 2021 after a previous career in E-commerce. A hairdresser by trade, Laura has vast experience in both retail and customer service roles. After initially joining Menphys as the Donations Manager at our centre on Bell Street, Wigston, Laura has progressed into becoming our Head Of Retail covering both Charity Shops, the Donations Centre and our Bell Street Coffee Shop. With her team of Retail Supervisors, Shop Assistants and Volunteers, Laura is looking forward to enhancing the Charitys sustainability and growth through a successful retail offering, working closely with other departments to continually develop the promotion and success of our shops.
Family Support Team Leader
Sarah is passionate about supporting families, as an adopted parent Sarah knows only too well the struggles parents face in getting the right support for their children.
Initially from a beauty management background, Sarah has always had an interest in SEND with her children having Special Educational Needs. Sarah is qualified in Understanding Autism, Special Educational Needs, Counselling, and SEND Law. Sarah’s approach is kind, caring, and thoughtful and will fight for inclusivity and equality. Sarah really enjoys her role leading The Family Support Team and advocating for families, she also looks forward to supporting more families in the future and watching The Family Support Team grow.
Fundraising and Events Coordinator
After working in the Travel Industry for 18 years, Toni wanted a new challenge and the opportunity to join Menphys was too good to turn down. Toni has found it a truly rewarding experience and been amazed by the work which Menphys does, she is looking to make a difference and help provide equal opportunities for children and young people with disabilities.
Fundraising and Marketing Assistant
Ellie is Menphys young ambassador and works alongside the marketing team as Marketing Assistant, helping with the preparation of events and running of social media accounts. Ellie is a recognised role model to her peers being awarded DimensionsUK, Autism and Leaders List 2019 for her valuable work within the community and delivering disability awareness talks to school assemblies. Ellie is proud to work for Menphys an employer that embraces her abilities.
Service Delivery Coordinator
Amy is passionate about inclusivity and community and prides herself on helping people reach their goals. Amy is looking forward to working alongside all our volunteers to help them develop and be empowered. Amy has years of experience within project management and will utilise these skills for volunteer recruitment, support and training.
Service Delivery Coordinator
Bree started in October 2023 and is happy to be taking on a new challenge at Menphys after working in Project Management within the energy and renewables sector. Bree has been working on our Employability Project and is helping young people with SEND find work experience and employment opportunities. She is passionate about helping people and is excited to continue her work at Menphys.
Service Delivery Coordinator
Janice has fond memories of Menphys day trips in it early years and so is pleased to be now working as part of the team delivering vital services to SEND families. Janice is passionate about ensuring families with children and young people with additional needs feel supported within the community of Leicester and Leicestershire. Janice particularly enjoys coordinating youth clubs and accessible events for the families.
Service Delivery Coordinator
Claire joined our team in October 2021, ready for a new challenge after spending a number of years supporting the medical needs of children and young people with SEND in a local special school. Claire has supported children, young people and their families with SEND in many different roles, from organising and delivering play schemes, working as a Personal Assistant and supporting the development of independence skills through extended education. Claire promotes inclusion and is hoping to use her training and skills to develop provisions for lots of children and young people with SEND. Claire is looking forward to getting involved in the development of new projects including after school clubs, summer activity clubs, family events, volunteer development and family support.
Mini Menphys Activity Leader
Nicola joined the team in August 2022 as part of the Services Team. Menphys strives to increase the support and activities we can provide to all young people with SEND and her main focus is to work with the 0-5-year-old age group and their parents/ carers.
Nicola has a background in childcare particularly the EYFS as she has a level 3 in childcare. She trained as a SENCO and spent many years working her way up to become a Nursery Manager.
Being a parent to three children all with their uniqueness and additional needs brings the personal experience and empathy only one who has experienced it can give.