Four Mencap NI employees from Omagh will take on the 120 Kilometre trek across the Camino de Santiago, in Northern Spain in aid of the learning disability charity. Garry Watson, Doreen Alexander, Annette Mc Collum, and Cathy McElmurray are all Support Workers for Mencap’s Supported Living Service in Omagh.

The charity provides support for people with a learning disability in their own homes and in specially adapted housing designed to meet people’s needs. The Mencap Camino trekkers will begin their journey across Northern Spain on Thursday 28th September 2017 and have organised several fundraising events to raise money.

Garry Watson, one of the Camino Trekkers said: “‘This will be a walk of a lifetime for all of us and will raise money to support Mencap. We are all very proud of the work we do and it’s a good way to directly help people with a learning disability who all have the right to live independently in their community and if needed they should be supported to do so, which is our job.”

The Mencap trekkers plan to complete the hike in five days and hope to meet their target of £5000 for Mencap NI. Their decision to take on the challenge came from a coffee break chat about the movie ‘The Way’ with actor James Nesbitt and Martin Sheen, a tale of four unlikely pilgrims journeying together on the Camino de Santiago and within a fortnight the Mencap staff had their flights booked.

Emma Cochrane, Mencap’s Omagh Supported Living Manager said: “We are very proud of the four staff taking on this challenge, it really goes above and beyond normal work duties taking on such a challenge and I want to thank everyone of them for their dedication and support of Mencap’s work.  The funds raised will go directly to the Supported Living Service in Omagh and will help provide vital support to people with a learning disability and make a difference to people’s lives.”

Omagh Supported Living service provides a full range of support for tenants in their houses.  Mencap staff will help people find a wide range of activities that they would like to do in their local community as well as support in their homes. The charity works with people to ensure they can access the activities they want at a time they choose. 

The Mencap Camino Trekkers have had great support from people of Omagh in a street collection and from local businesseswant P&L Taxis, Scott and Ewing Ltd, RecyCo, Pat Kirk Ltd, Buchanan Fuels and Creagh Concrete for their generous donations of £100 each and for the sponsorship of the groups t-shirts for the trek.

Jonathan Hanna, Mencap Community Fundraiser said: “It’s great to see our staff supporting Mencap’s work. If anyone in the Omagh area is interested in doing a Trek or any other fundraising events to support our work in Omagh then please get in touch.’

If you would like to contribute directly to the Mencap Camino Trekkers fundraising efforts then visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gary-mccollum or alternatively you can contact Mencap NI for more information: 028 9069 1351 or  fundraising.ni@mencap.org.uk .