All bud­dy­ing up

Group want to im­prove on qual­ity of life

Rutherglen Reformer - - Intimations - Strat­ton Wil­liams

A new club to help peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties en­joy more of a so­cial life has been set up in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang.

Cam­glen Bud­dies Leisure and So­cial Club are a char­ity or­gan­si­a­tion aim­ing to im­prove the qual­ity of life for peo­ple with ad­di­tional sup­port needs.

Their tar­get age range is 14 and up­wards – with no up­per limit.

“It has taken us two years to get things or­gan­ised and to fi­nally have the club up and run­ning,” ex­plained club sec­re­tary Siob­han Harkin.

“It’s early days but we have around 13 com­mit­tee and 15 mem­bers and we are keen to build on that,” added the mu­mof-three.

They meet in the Harry Heaney Day Care Cen­tre, Car­rick Road, Ruther­glen, ev­ery sec­ond Fri­day evening and costs £3 for mem­bers.

The group’s fo­cus is to help those with learn­ing dis­abil­ity get out and about more, to make friends and have so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We want our mem­bers to en­joy do­ing the things other peo­ple do and to have as nor­mal a life as pos­si­ble,” said Siob­han of Drum­sagard, Cam­bus­lang.

The 42-year-old de­cided to do some­thing about the lack of so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple with ad­di­tional sup­port needs when she saw how iso­lated her own daugh­ter had be­come.

Caitlin ( 19), suf­fers from Wil­liam’s Syn­drome – which dis­plays sim­i­lar symp­toms to Down’s Syn­drome.

“She had open-heart surgery when she was just a year old and, thank­fully, she came through that.

“But as she has got­ten older there is ab­so­lutely noth­ing for her to do,” added Siob­han.

“She goes to col­lege two days a week but apart from that she has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to take up her time. “Peo­ple like her are just so let down.” And she says so­cial work could do more to help peo­ple in a sim­i­lar pos­tion.

“They get off lightly. They are lucky that par­ents and car­ers take up the slack and try to ar­range things them­selves.

“More ef­fort and thought needs to go into try­ing to make life bet­ter for peo­ple who are dis­ad­van­taged like this.”

The group are seek­ing ad­di­tional fund­ing to help them grow and are hop­ing for help from sources like the Na­tional Lottery, busi­nesses – any­one pre­pared to keep the club alive.

“This pro­ject is a huge un­der­tak­ing and our long- term goal is to have our own premises with a cafe in a lo­ca­tion that is easily ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one,” said Siob­han.

The next meet­ing is on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 2, and is their grand open­ing.

Any new mem­bers from the Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­land area are welcome to come along.

“We have in­vited lo­cal coun­cil­lors and mem­bers and com­mit­tee will be there, so we’re quite ex­cited about it all be­com­ing of­fi­cial.”

Any­one who would like to help with fund­ing or wants more in­for­ma­tion on the club should con­tact siob­han­harkin@ bt­in­ter­net.com

Best bud­dies Cam­glen Bud­dies Club sec­re­tary Siob­han Harkin with daugh­ter Caitlin

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