Club for disabled people saved after Evening News appeal
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2013
An entertainment club providing a lifeline for disabled people which 18 months ago was on the brink of folding is now fighting fit - and on the hunt for new members.
Norwich Phab Club, which meets weekly at the Vauxhall Centre, looked set to shut for good when chairman Edward Westhorpe retired last March at the age of 89 after having run the club for 40 years.
That prompted an appeal in the Evening News for new blood at the group, so that the disabled and able-bodied members who visited the club every Tuesday did not miss out on one of their few outings of the week.
A group of musicians led by Martin Fuller, now the Phab Club's secretary, stepped forward to meet the challenge, and the group is now firmly on the up, he said.
'Because of his age, Edward Westhorpe had to retire, but it's fair to say we have had a big turnaround and are now going from strength to strength,' said Mr Fuller.
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'Now we want to recruit more members and more volunteers.'
Mr Fuller and his fellow musicians from Micawbers Tavern in Pottergate decided to offer their services to prevent the club from folding, and have given it a new lease of life.
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'We now have live musicians and entertainment every week and this club is thriving. People who did the entertainment at the club asked other people, including me, to help. We have 20 groups and musicians who come and play, and having live entertainment every week has boosted our numbers,' he said.
The group is a valuable way for people with disabilities and learning difficulties to socialise and get out and about, with the club organising minibuses to help people get to and from the meetings. However, transport for other members is a problem, with many dependent on carers or family members to take them to and from the club.
'We have musical entertainment and games which everybody is able to take part in,' said Mr Fuller.
'It's an enjoyable evening enabling people to mix with others, for people who probably wouldn't have anywhere else to go.'
To find out about Norwich Phab Club, call Martin Fuller on 01603 404558. The club meets every Tuesday at 7pm at the Vauxhall Centre, Johnson Place, off Chapel Field Road.