In your day-to-day life, is there a hobby you've been meaning to do more of, or something new you'd like to try but never got round to? Whether it's painting, gardening, knitting or even a lunch club to meet new people, why not just give it a go?

On Day 8 of our Community Advent Calendar, we’re asking you to get involved with a local club.

For many of the people we support, it can be difficult to develop relationships. This may happen as a result of communication barriers, or a lack of understanding - or even accessibility - within the local area. Unfortunately, this often results in people with disabilities and mental health needs feeling socially isolated.

Why join a club?

Being part of a group that meets regularly can make an important difference to every aspect of life, from helping you feel less alone through to forming new friendships. Some of our services run clubs and group activities within their local communities, which are made possible by generous donations. They enjoy everything from arts and crafts clubs, gardening groups, lunch clubs, and regular coffee mornings to music groups and bingo.

When asked what community meant to them, many of the people we support said "mixing with other people, doing things together and feeling involved". Another individual commented: "I have made some real chums… and if I have been unwell, someone comes to visit and see how I am. It makes me feel someone cares." This is why these clubs are vital: they give the people we support the chance to be a part of their community.

Our York services reap the benefits

Last year, one of our services in York set up a drama club, funded by donations, which has since become completely self-sufficient. The club has proved to be incredibly popular and has put on various productions with creative twists, including The Wizard of Oz - set in Australia and embracing everything from Neighbours to bush tucker trials and Dame Edna - and Strictly Cinderella, an empowering contemporary production on the theme of disability and discrimination.

Head down to your local community board, or go online if your area has their own website, and see what clubs are available near you. You might even find yourself getting involved in one run by a United Response service!

Being part of groups like these is hugely beneficial to the people we support and those around them. We need you to give today to help fund more of our work.

Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising assistant.