Charity supporting adults with learning disabilities open in Bassetlaw

Just Good Friends Club is a registered non-profit charity funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. They are supported by local funding, donations and through their own fundraising events.
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The charity formed in 1997 after an advocacy group of adults with learning difficulties formed an evening group for the purpose of socialising, currently JGFC has 5 evening groups in Worksop, Bolsover, Pinxton, Chesterfield and Clowne.

JGFC opened their first Social Hub in 2021 in Clowne when Derbyshire County Council closed 8-day centres in the Northeast of the county, they currently have 4 Social Hubs in Clowne, Waingroves near Ripley, Coal Aston and Nether Langwith supporting 82 members.

In the Social Hubs they support their members practice transferable skills such as travel training, shopping and budgeting and cooking a meal for themselves. The members are encouraged to participate in activities and hobbies, such as chair-based exercises, sports and games and gardening.

JGFC members enjoying Ozbox at Nether LangwithJGFC members enjoying Ozbox at Nether Langwith
JGFC members enjoying Ozbox at Nether Langwith

The charity organises day trips and weekends away, they also have a nightclub event in Chesterfield once a month, an event that is open to all adults with learning disabilities and their carers whether they are our members or not.

Just Good Friends Project and Development Coordinator Marc Wade said:

"We are proud of our promoting independent living strategy. We teach travel training, shopping and helping our members understand money. We invite community groups into our Hubs to inform our members on what’s happening in their community, this includes members of the emergency services telling our members how to stay safe.

"Part of what we do at Just Good Friends Club is help our members be included as part of their local community. We have several off-site projects including a sensory garden in Whitwell, renovating a telephone box which we are turning into a book exchange and an allotment, where we hope our members can learn how some of the food they eat is grown and then use them in their cooking activities. We are also adopters of Whitwell station and in 2023 we won a level 2 Britain in bloom- in your neighbourhood certificate and hope to achieve a level 3 next year."

JGFC’s Hub in Bassetlaw is based at the village hall in Nether Langwith

Nether Langwith is an idyllic setting, and the hall is exactly the type of venue I wanted to base our hubs Marc said. We identified the hall and was surprised how under-used it was, and count ourselves fortunate we were able to open our hub in such a quick time.

We identified a couple of issues with the hall but with our contacts we managed to have a new kitchen fitted and toilets given a fresh look, all thanks to Fortum, who kindly did all the work at no cost to us or the Parish council. We can see the potential in the village hall and want to assist the parish council get the most out of it, and JGFC have backed their application with the National Lottery.

Just Good Friends Club have a good working relationship with Derbyshire council even before being on their framework. The framework is a list of organisations that can provide certain kinds of support and activities for disabled children, young people and their families in Derbyshire.

Marc explains, many young disabled people and their families choose to arrange their own support using direct payments or personal budgets. Families can choose to buy services from a framework provider if they wish to. The framework helps these families find out what's available and that providers meet certain quality standards.

The transition in Nottinghamshire hasn't been as smooth for the charity, Marc explains his frustrations: "In Derbyshire when we started our first hub, social workers and community connecters would visit and bring potential members with them, with our range of activities and low price, - the cheapest on the framework for our package - we became very popular quickly and our Clowne hub is now nearly at capacity.

"In Nottinghamshire it's been very slow going, with no social workers or connectors visiting and we have been told to list our services on Notts help yourself, yet the people that use our service in Nottinghamshire didn't know of the website.

"We've applied to be included on Nottinghamshire’s framework, but the process is slower than it is in Derbyshire. Hopefully once the framework application is successful numbers will increase quickly. We are close to the point that we are saying to Nottinghamshire council 'use us or lose us' we know our service works and is popular not only with our members but with their parents and carers too."

Amanda Jackson whose son attends Just Good Friends hub in Coal Aston Derbyshire says:

"Daniel was the first member to join the new hub in Coal Aston. He was initially very nervous, and we wondered if it would be suitable setting for him.

"How wrong we were - Daniel settled very quickly and it soon became apparent that his anxiety and initial reservation was unfounded. He is now much more confident with the staff and other members of the group.

Daniel now really looks forward to his weekly sessions and has gone from being a very et and reserved young man to a chatterbox! He now joins in conversations and partakes in all activities. The staff at JGFC ensure the space is welcoming and nurturing-Daniel says, "I love it there!"

Just Good Friends Club’s Nether Langwith social hub is located at the village hall and runs Tuesday-Thursday 10am to 3pm. For more information or to book a place please contact:

Office 01246913267 / [email protected]

Sam Young (Hub leader) 07563204889 / [email protected]

Marc Wade 07521349690 / [email protected].