Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Icons for all seasons

Mencap, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities, has teamed up with ICONS to create its 2007 calendar. Featuring icons as a theme, the calendar brings together a collection of artworks submitted by England’s learning disabled community.

Helping People
Tea Cup
Tea cup by Paul Hammond

Mencap is the UK’s leading charity for people with a learning disability. Every day Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives with freedom, independence and dignity. Learning disability affects someone’s intellectual and social development all their life.

This year, Mencap has teamed up with ICONS to create a calendar that will inspire people to think of things that represent England and what it means to live in England during the 21st Century. ICONS encourages participation from all communities and aims to bridge social boundaries. For this reason, the project is an ideal way to ensure that people with a learning disability get a chance to have their say.


Mencap ran a competition, asking adults and children with a learning disability to think about what makes them think of England. They were then asked to draw or paint their chosen icon – the only limits being that it had to be a place or a thing and not a person. The competition was open to over 1300 Special needs schools and art clubs and the response was overwhelming.

Big Red Bus
Big Red Bus by Yvette Sanderson

ICONS' Education and Community Programmes Manager, Ted Davis said: "It was a fantastic response. The artistic imagination and quality of the entries surpassed anything the judges could have imagined, and the techniques used were both innovative and diverse."

The calendar competition gives an opportunity for artists with a learning disability to make their art public, and gives us an insight into their world.

The panel of judges finally managed to pick out 13 overall winners – one for the cover and for each subsequent month of the year. The chosen icons ranged from the traditional fish and chips to a multicultural flag of Britain.

Sharing Creativity
Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench

The images will be included in Mencap’s 2007 calendar, and each picture will be displayed on a tear off postcard which encourages the receiver to submit their own icon on the ICONS website.

ICONS and Mencap's calender project is supported by Dame Judi Dench, who said: “I am delighted to be able to support the project that Mencap is running in association with ICONS of England. A calendar of art by children with a learning disability is a wonderful way to include the people that Mencap works so hard to help.”

For details on how you can order this year's calendar, contact Katie Spencer- Smith at Mencap.