Have fun and make new friends at the Dorset Friendship Club

Dorset Echo: FRIENDS: The club is seeking new members to help out FRIENDS: The club is seeking new members to help out

MAKE FRIENDS and have fun at a friendship club for people with learning disabilities.

The Dorset Friendship Club is a county-wide group that helps to run meet ups for people with learning disabilities across the area and they are looking for more people to join them.

Events include cinema trips, pub and skittles nights, discos and nights out clubbing – the group has a steering group run by members and members guide what activities they want to do.

Recent events have seen a James Bond and Grease themed party and coming soon will be an Abba night.

The group say they have had great support from all sorts of venues including Dorchester Baptist church, Tom Brown’s, The Junction and the New Vic in Weymouth.

The group say they have great fun and are urging people to get involved.

Adam Kelly, 29, is on the steering group, he has Cerebral Palsy and heard about the group through word of mouth.

He said the group had boosted his confidence and urged anyone with learning disabilities to come along and join in.

He said: “I know how it feels to start with, you may feel you don’t really want to be classified as disabled. Once you realise everyone in the club is actually there to support you and they don’t judge the disability, they enhance your ability to be yourself then you will know it wasn’t that bad in the end.” He added: “Through this friendship club my confidence has gone up.”

Now in its sixth year and with 400 registered members, the group is the chosen charity for new Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Kate Wheller, after she happened to meet Adam at an event last year and he told her about the group.

She said: “What I’m hoping to do is raise money, but more importantly raise the awareness of what the club is doing.”

Coordinator Laura Kerr said the benefits of the group for members included improved health and wellbeing both physically and emotionally, reduced social isolation and greater interaction with the community and an increased feeling of safety within their community.

Laura said just being out in the community can change people’s perceptions.

Everyone needed support in their lives and some people needed a bit more support, she added.

She said: “We have the ethos at club – we all support each other- we all need friends.”

n To find out more and get in touch with the friendship club either email laura@dorset peoplefirst.co.uk or call 07970 240555.

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