Community group already a success in Shelfield

An art and craft group for people with learning disabilities has been launched in Shelfield.

The Circle of Friends, which meets at St Mark’s Church, is a support group to promote community engagement and fellowship.

The Brownhills/Pelsall/Rushall/Shelfield Area Partnership donated £1,265, which has now been matched by the Social Care and Inclusion directorate at Walsall Council.

The newly-formed group, which already has 30 members and includes teens and adults with learning disabilities and their carers, meets every week for a fish and chip supper and an art and craft session.

Juanita Garrington, Circle of Friends Shelfield treasurer, said members are already talking about expansion.

“The group was set up to provide people, primarily those who suffer with learning difficulties, with an opportunity to socialise and integrate with other people,” she said.

“We encourage interaction where everybody can mix together in a warm and friendly environment, share common interests and enjoy a meal together.

“It’s a lovely way for people, who don’t normally have the chance to bond with others, where they can feel accepted and not have to worry about what others may think of them.”

Ranjit Kaur, area manager for the Brownhills/Pelsall/Rushall/Shelfield Area Partnership, said: “Members of the group have been referred to it by the Partnership.

“They run the Circle of Friends, and all activities, without the additional support from agencies and partners and so have put a lot of their own resources and time into establishing their own set up.

“The materials for the art and craft sessions have also been purchased by members with money out of their own pockets.”

Paul Davies, Executive Director for Social Care and Inclusion, said the opportunity to contribute to the success of a people-led community project was an easy decision to make.

Anyone wanting more information about the group should contact  Dena Smith on 07841 869186.


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