Wolverhampton Gateway is affiliated to Wolverhampton Mencap and is a club for adults with learning difficulties. We cater for adults of all ages and have members in their teenage years as well as several members who are senior citizens. We have met at a number of venues over the last forty years, but Beckminster Church has proved to be the most accommodating and the most welcoming. We all value their help and friendship and look forward to our Friday evenings at Beckminster.
Gateway aims to provide friendship and support for all people with learning difficulties. Members socialise; play pool, table tennis, darts and Wii games; run a tuck shop; engage in literacy and numeracy challenges; listen to music; engage in craft activities; take part in karaoke and play bingo. Gateway organises a number of trips and events for members including visits to theme parks; to places of interests such as the Space Centre; to the theatre and for meals in pub restaurants. We take members on residential weekends to the Towers Outdoor Education Centre in Capel Curig twice a year and, from September 2016, have taken a number of groups for horse-riding lessons. We have visitors to the club, such a local choir; a drama teacher; the fire service and the police.
Many of our members need support. A number of them live with their families, but a large number live in the community, supported by carers. Vulnerable people, such as those with learning difficulties, are often exploited by the less-caring elements of society and several of our members have been the victims of crimes such as mugging, burglary and fraud. We are increasingly involved in the wider needs of our learning disabled members and are registered as a third-party reporting centre for hate crimes.
Fund-raising is an important part of our organisation: both in terms of raising money for our own club and also for organisations such as ‘Make a Wish’. We organise events such as sponsored walks around Bantock Park and disco evenings.
Wolverhampton Gateway is a busy club, with over seventy members and a waiting list. We can make a justifiable claim that we are one of the most diverse clubs in the area in terms of age, ethnicity and ability and that we are able to make a significant difference to the lives of the learning disabled in Wolverhampton. We have a small staff who are all volunteers. We welcome help from students who are keen to gain experience in working with people with learning disabilities. We also gratefully accept support from anyone else in the local community who would be willing to help us either with fundraising or by spending a couple of hours with us on a Friday evening.
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