A UTTOXETER group for adults with learning disabilities has been thrown a lifeline thanks to digger-giant JCB.
The Uttoxeter Gateway Club, which relies on grants and funding, has been handed a donation for £5,000 from the Rocester-based company.
The club hosts weekly club-based activities to improve members’ social skills and help them build relationships.
Leader Pauline Wilson said the money has been a great help to the club, which is very important to its members.
She said: “The club is extremely important to our members and many of them would not have a social life if they couldn’t come to us.
“It is becoming increasingly harder to get funding and, without it, we would not be able to afford our activities and outings.
“The donation will go a long way towards making sure we can continue for another year and we are very grateful to JCB for their support.”
The JCB donation represents half of the group’s annual running costs and has already paid for a day trip to Blackpool for members and their families, a meal at the Steeplechase pub and a Christmas party as well as an exciting programme of activities for the year.
It has also paid for a year’s contract with Cinebowl, in Dovefields Retail Park, where members go once a month to either see a film at the cinema or go bowling as well as equipment for the club like indoor games and CDs.
Mrs Wilson added: “We also have a few people coming in to do demonstrations for the members so all in all it has been really good.
“We welcome all new members aged over 16 years of age who have learning disabilities.
“Also we would love to hear from anybody who has got any special skills they could bring to the club and they would like to volunteer.
“It is always nice to have new people.
“Finally I would like to thank JCB on behalf of the club as it is a big donation which is very good for us.”
As young people with learning difficulties reach the age of 18 there is a lack of support available for them which is why the Uttoxeter Gateway Club was started and is so important to its members and their families.
In the past, the club has spoken out about its struggle with funding as it continued to ask for support.
A change to the funding structure by the Government made it even more of an uphill struggle for the Uttoxeter Gateway Club and a crucial bus service which enabled members to be bussed in from outlying rural areas like Mayfield, Marchington and Rocester also came under threat.
However, the dedicated volunteers have continued to fight for the club and provide activities, days out and even holidays for the members despite the ongoing struggle for funds.
The club, which is in its 25th year, has 30 members who meet each Tuesday from 6pm to 9pm at the Guildhall, at St Mary’s Catholic Church, in Balance Street, Uttoxeter.
Trustees are also planning to spend some of the money on a website and newsletter to promote their work.
Anyone wanting more information or to offer their services as a volunteer can phone Mrs Wilson on 01889 564908.