Loneliness can be a real issue for people with learning disabilities. That’s why UR Sociable was created, a group aiming to reduce social isolation for the people we support.

 It’s attended by around 20 people, mainly people supported by United Response, with some also bring their partners or family members. Most of the people who attend the club have learning disabilities, but some also have mental health needs.

Since opening last September the group has been very successful. Running once a fortnight, the club offers people we support the opportunity to get involved in different activities including walking, pool competitions, seasonal parties, bowling, laser quest and crafts.

 

“We try to make it meaningful”

Caroline Morrison, Team Manager, says it has opened up doors for people. “We try to make it meaningful in lots of ways, by doing things like make presents and cards for loved ones on special occasions. It has been really successful.”

The group gives people the opportunity to make new friends and do fun things which they would not normally do. Activities are all chosen by the people who go to the club, and a focus is given on activities which get people out into the community.

Building confidence and happiness

One man who goes to the club has gained real confidence through the pool competition. He had previously thought he wouldn’t be allowed to go to pubs in Carlisle, but going along and getting involved in the competition has made him feel welcome and built his confidence and happiness.

Another person we support who is blind was keen to meet other blind people. He was introduced to another person supported by United Response at UR Sociable and they have since become good friends.

One of the best things about the club is their parties, which they held for Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Everyone loved it and one woman said it was the first time she had ever been to a party.

A look to the future

Caroline hopes over the next few months the club will expand. It is currently held on a Monday night, which makes it a little restrictive in terms of the activities they can do, but they hope it can be held on different days and be opened up to the wider community.  It is not yet open to the public, but the long-term aim is that it will be when they have a venue with enough capacity.

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