Hello, and welcome to FamilyHub - Mencap’s brand new online community for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability. We say it’s Mencap’s community, but really, it’s yours.

It’s a community that connects parents who have a child/children with a learning disability, to share your experiences, triumphs and challenges, and to offer support and guidance to others whose family situation is similar to your own.

You are experts by experience, and we’re here simply to facilitate this community. We want FamilyHub to be a safe and welcoming place where family members can talk freely and share experiences, so take a moment to read the guidelines below.

Please be aware that each time you use this community, you are agreeing to our guidelines.

FamilyHub is monitored 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and not in the evening or at weekends. If you are emotionally distressed and require urgent and immediate support, you can call Samaritans for free - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - on 116 123.

Community management and moderation

You can post instantly on this community so it is available to people 24/7. There are two community managers who moderate FamilyHub during office hours from Monday to Friday. This means we cannot always check all the content on the community instantly

We will remove posts that are inappropriate and not in line with the supportive spirit of FamilyHub but we will get in touch with you to explain why. Members who spam FamilyHub with unrelated messages or commercial posts will be banned from the community.

In a nutshell:

  • be respectful of others
  • be aware that people might be going through challenging times and might feel vulnerable, please think how your posts could come across
  • don’t use this community for research or promotional purposes, it is a place for family members to connect
  • don’t use abusive or offensive language or personally attack community members.  

Can you challenge a decision?

If your post has been removed or you have been banned from the community and you don’t agree, you can get in touch with the community team. Please email community@mencap.org.uk and we will get back to you. 

Offensive or inappropriate posts 

What should you do if you come across posts or replies that are not in line with our guidelines? Do not reply directly to the post - people who post abusive or offensive messages are often looking for attention. 

If you feel that something is offensive or distasteful you can use the flag button to highlight this to the community managers. This is done anonymously and will remain so. The community managers will review the reported content and take action accordingly. Clicking the flag button does not guarantee the content will be removed and also does not guarantee it will be hidden immediately.

You can also send an email to community@mencap.org.uk with a link to the post and why you think it is inappropriate.
We will carefully consider every moderation decision and in some cases we may ask members to be tolerant of other people's views and ways of expressing themselves. 

The community managers reserve the right to take steps or implement measures that we think will benefit the community as a whole. 

The guidelines & principles 

FamilyHub is a public community

You need a profile to be able to post and reply but the community is public so all threads are visible to any visitor. Please be aware of this when creating your username for FamilyHub, you might just want to create a nickname. Don’t use your email address in your username. Be careful with how much personal information you share. Please don’t share your email address, phone number or home address - we will remove them. 

Make it relevant and be supportive

This community is for parents and family members, this isn’t a platform for support workers or other professionals. Posts and discussions can have all sorts of topics, please make sure you make it clear in your title what your message is about. 

Every now and then we might move certain threads into more appropriate areas in the community so people who are going through similar experiences can connect with each other. There will always be a little message with a link directing you to the new location of the thread. 

We have created different categories in the community to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Please let the team know at community@mencap.org.uk if you have any suggestions. 

Some content isn’t appropriate

Content on FamilyHub can be deemed offensive, inappropriate or irrelevant and in breach of the community guidelines if it is:

  • harassing, defamatory, abusive, intimidating, discriminatory, pornographic, obscene or threatening
  • against the law - including the Data Protection Act
  • contains personal information or details which would enable someone to identify a person without their permission
  • deemed that the user is pretending to be someone other than themselves
  • infringes copyright
  • medical endorsement or advice
  • a misrepresent or damage the reputation of Mencap
  • a complaint that should be directed elsewhere and through different channels
  • a message posted for personal financial gain (i.e. it’s advertising)
  • off topic and not relevant to the discussion or subject matter
  • promoting campaigns or petitions (please ask for permission first, email community@mencap.org.uk before you post) 
  • part of a research project (please ask for permission first, email community@mencap.org.uk before you post).

Posting images 

Feel free to post images but please make sure you don't post photos without the person's permission or of children under 18 without parental consent. 

Legal stuff 

Posting content that may put you or us at risk of prosecution, such as defamatory posts or content that breach someone else’s intellectual property rights is against our guidelines. 

Please do not 'name and shame' people or organisations, this can leave both you and Mencap open to prosecution if your comments could be interpreted as libellous. Please don’t use FamilyHub for anything unlawful, misleading or malicious.

Mencap team

Some of Mencap’s staff are part of FamilyHub such as our policy experts or advisors. They will offer their advice where appropriate. We aim to reply as soon as possible when you have a question but it can take up to 5 days. 

Minimum age 

FamilyHub does not allow members under 16 years of age to join. Accounts of members found to be under 16 will be closed. If you are under 16 and need support, you may find it helpful to visit Sibs https://www.sibs.org.uk or Babble https://babble.carers.org

Your data and terms and conditions

By joining FamilyHub you’re agreeing to us storing the details you provide. It also means you allow us to email you about the community with news that we hope you'll find useful - and you can unsubscribe from these updates at any time. When you sign up there is also the option to receive wider email marketing news from Mencap. You can go to your profile on the website to further manage your preferences. 

Please also see our privacy policy and terms and conditions. Any questions? Get in touch at community@mencap.org.uk 

In posting content on FamilyHub you grant Mencap permission to use, adapt and distribute such content on other channels. 

Safety and support

Get in touch, we're here for you

Mencap Direct is our free help and advice line on 0808 808 1111. Available from Monday until Friday between 9am-6pm. Our team can offer advice, information, discuss what support Mencap can offer tailored to your needs, or just listen. 

You can also email the helpline team at helpline@mencap.org.uk 

Suicide and self-harm

We take all mentions of intention to commit suicide, assisted suicide or self-harm very seriously. We will get in touch directly with the person to offer guidance. Suicidal posts will be removed from the site. 

Are you worried about somebody in the community? Please contact us on community@mencap.org.uk, refer the person to our helpline 0808 808 111 or the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

Safety and wellbeing

If you are worried about the safety and wellbeing of a member of the community, or the safety and wellbeing of somebody that a community member cares for, please get in touch with the team at community@mencap.org.uk.

Medical advice

Mencap’s community team is not able to offer medical advice, please seek medical advice and support from healthcare professionals and not base any decisions solely on what you read online. 

Final things 

Views expressed in FamilyHub are purely the views of the members and as such don't constitute professional recommendations or advice or the opinions of Mencap. 

We have the right to update and change our Community guidelines and Terms and Conditions at any time. If you have any questions about these guidelines, or anything on the site at all, contact us and we’ll do all we can to help.