John’s Club has received over £124,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to set up a community centre for people with learning disabilities, as well as physical disabilities and mental health issues.
Set up in 1996 by John Phillips, John’s Club will support people to improve their mental and physical wellbeing by offering various activities, including football, cricket, nature walks, camping trips, cooking and nutrition classes, and money management workshops.
The organisation’s new community centre will be based in Oakfield, Ryde and will be the first time the group has had a permanent base in its 23 year history. Prior to this funding, the group used various bases and locations to run services, but did not have a permanent setting to call home.
John’s Club addresses the loneliness and isolation often experienced by people with disabilities by bringing them together in a safe and non-judgemental environment, while teaching new skills and increasing confidence in social settings. John’s Club also runs much needed advocacy and support groups for people with learning disabilities, on topics ranging from bereavement, independent living, and paying bills. According to research by SCOPE, 85% of young disabled people experience feelings of loneliness.
The organisation will also be reaching out to the local community by hosting inclusive social events, such as fetes and BBQs, with the aim of building relationships with local people and increasing the confidence of people with learning disabilities through acceptance and integration.
The group currently has approximately 200 members, and is supported by a team of 30 volunteers, 27 of whom have a learning disability. The group’s Board of Trustees and staff members are also predominantly made up of people who have learning disabilities, meaning the organisation completely understands the needs of its members.
John Phillips, Founder of John’s Club, said:
“It was always my vision for people with disabilities to be running their own organisation. The National Lottery Community Fund and Oakfield FC have given us this opportunity, and I believe that we will be able to achieve our goal now we have our own base. We have a dedicated team who are always willing to go the extra mile and work together to make things happen, both at Oakfield, our charity shop in Shanklin and all other departments of John’s Club.
“I have a great sense of pride when I see how far we have come and how confident some of our members have become.”
James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support more projects addressing loneliness and social isolation than any other funder in the UK. We’re delighted that many of the projects we have funded this quarter on the Isle of Wight are focussed on bringing communities together, enabling people to make new connections and empowering their communities to thrive. With their ideas, knowledge and passion, this money changes lives.”
The National Lottery Community Fund is responsible for giving out money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded over half a billion pounds (508.5 million) and supported over 11,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk.