London ,

Lord Mayor's Appeal Launched

The newly elected Lord Mayor, Alan Yarrow, and his wife Gilly are aiming to raise over £1.5 million for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

They have chosen a very personal cause, understanding from their own experience the importance of support for families and carers of people with a learning disability or physical impairment. They have nominated Mencap and Scope as this year’s beneficiaries, two charities which recognise that family wellbeing is critical to the development of a disabled child.

Alan and Gilly married in 1975 and their eldest son Max was born in 1981, “Our first child Max had a difficult birth,” says Alan, “and it became apparent that he was not developing at the right phases and had a learning disability. ‘

Gilly stopped working to look after the first of their two sons, but was also provided with invaluable support from Mencap and Scope.

“Like any couple whose son or daughter is born with a learning disability or physical impairment, Gilly and I found our lives taken in an unexpected and often very challenging direction 33 years ago.

‘Luckily, Scope and Mencap were there for Max - and for us as a family - and this appeal is a way of supporting them in return.”

As with any family in such circumstances, they wanted to ensure their first son had everything he needed to succeed in life. These charities are lifelines for people with a learning or physical impairment and their families, and they strive to break the exclusion and marginalisation often experienced. Both organisations work tirelessly to make the world a place where disabled people can fully participate.

Alan, who is also a Vice President of Mencap, states “Every 10 minutes a child is diagnosed as disabled. Sometimes they find themselves pushed to the edge of society - they need to be part of the mainstream.

‘We know it's in all our interests to understand additional needs, and support those living with the reality of them. We are ALL a part of society - we want to support every part of it.”

Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow’s charitable theme for 2014/2015’ Lord Mayor’s Appeal is creating wealth, giving time and supporting people, six words which reflect the City of London. The City excels in creating and investing in rich pools of both human and financial capital, providing a wealth of time and resource as well as encouraging talent and opportunity.

The Appeal will raise funds and awareness for this year’s selected charities through a busy and varied calendar of events that include gala dinners in the Guildhall, fashion shows at Mansion house and a golf day at Royal Wimbledon Golf Club. Alan says of the City’s ability to generate wealth, “You can't use it if you don't create it. Used responsibly, it can do a lot of good - in particular, in helping those who are less able to help themselves.”

The Lord Mayor has also chosen to pass on a percentage of the Appeal funds to The Royal Ballet School, the City & Guilds of London Art School and the Royal Academy of Arts. The UK’s creative industries are renowned around the world, and the Appeal would like to ensure this reputation continues for future generations. The Yarrows have a longstanding interest in these organisations because of their pursuit of excellence in their specialised fields.

Lord Mayor’s Appeal

For many decades now, the annual Lord Mayor’s Appeal of the City of has raised millions of pounds for the charities and good causes recommended by successive Lord Mayors. The Appeal’s purpose is to be an illustration of the philanthropy the Square Mile has to offer. Each year highlighting the inspirational and transformational ability of those involved to galvanise around important causes and dedicate their time.

This year people who use Mencap and Scope services and supporters of all ages and abilities travelled alongside the float on the day during the Lord Mayor’s show, chatting and waving to onlookers.

The Charities

The funds raised during this year’s Appeal will enable Scope and Mencap to further develop two exciting flagship programmes. Scope will create the Scope Family Fund for parents of disabled children. Mencap will develop a helpline and advocacy service, able to provide essential support to families and carers.

Mencap works to support the 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the , and their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

Richard Yorke, Director of Fundraising at Mencap, commented:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Lord Mayor's Appeal. There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the . There are almost a million family members caring for someone with a learning disability. We know that 8 out of 10 families that include someone with severe or profound learning disabilities talk about feeling isolated and exhausted. Families of people with a learning disability are also more likely to live in poverty, while people with a learning disability who become parents are more likely to be unemployed, live in poor quality housing and have poor health.

Thomas Bachofner, whose young daughter Rosie has a learning disability, and participated on the float said:

“Having a learning disability doesn’t mean there can be no quality of life and people need to know it’s not the end of the world. That is why having support is so important. My family joined in the Lord Mayor’s parade to showcase to the families of people with a learning disability that there is support out there and raise awareness of how important it is to continue to fight for what we deserve.”

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. They provide support, information and advice to more than a quarter of a million disabled people and their families every year.

Scope supports families of disabled children in many ways:

  • Through a nationwide Face 2 Face network, which connects parents with disabled children for emotional and practical support
  • Scope runs a free national helpline for disabled people and their families who are in need of information and support.
  • An online community for people connected by disability that provides expert advice, tips and forums for parents and disabled people
  • Sleep Solutions, a tailored service that helps support families of disabled children and those with additional needs, aged between two and 19, who have severe sleep problems. Support includes workshops, clinic appointments and home visits where appropriate, as well as vital telephone and email support

Alan Gosschalk, Director of Fundraising at Scope, commented:

“Life can be really tough for families with disabled children. They face many challenges and often find it hard to get the right support.

Scope provides information, advice and support to more than a quarter of a million disabled people and their families every year.

The Lord Mayor’s Appeal will support the Scope Family Fund for parents of disabled children, enabling us to support as many families and disabled children as possible.”

For further information:

Bell PottingerJames Henderson, Ceo

Tom Buchanan, Executive


Tel: +44 20 3772 2700

Tel: +44 20 3772 2716


City Of LondonGreg Williams


Jonathan Caleb-Landy

Tel: +44 207 696 6937


Pasca Lane, Head of PR

 Tel: +44 20 76197201