Friday Club – Jim and Emily’s story
Emily was born with a rare brain disorder which affects her eyesight and coordination. She also has a learning disability and this meant that growing up she needed extra support at school and home. She found it difficult to access social activities because of a lack of support for individuals with additional needs.
She’s now 24 and has been going to Leeds Mencap since 2009. She first attended their holiday play scheme when she was 14. Emily thought it was absolutely brilliant and loved it from day one. Unlike many of the places we went, there was no focus on what she couldn’t do, but just a focus on what she could do. For the first time, Emily was given choices and she was allowed to get involved at her own pace.
Emily attends college three days a week where she learns life skills like handling money, cookery and shopping. In her spare time she also sings in a local choir and has been involved in volunteering and at an over 55s club. She loves going with her support worker and singing all the old songs like Molly Malone and We’ll Meet Again!
She started at Leeds Mencap’s Friday club in the summer of 2017. She goes with her boyfriend Thomas and they call it ‘date night’. Emily loves the club and her favourite things to do are singing and dancing and having a good laugh with her friends. She enjoys contributing ideas to the planning sessions and she feels that her suggestions are valued. Shortly after joining Friday club she took part in a sponsored Zumba-thon to raise money for Mencap. She is really proud of this achievement.
The Friday club gives Emily an opportunity to have a night out in a safe environment but more importantly for her, it means that she’s being treated like an adult and it gives here some independence. This also means that as family we can take our younger daughter somewhere else and get a bit of a break.
In the coming weeks Emily is particularly looking forward to the Valentine’s party and Talent Show. We are so grateful for Leeds Mencap’s Friday Club, which Emily describes as exhilarating!
Friday Club is a social club for adults aged 18-25 with learning disabilities, register you interest via the form below.