Social club faces bleak future

A SOCIAL club for people with learning difficulties is facing closure if it cannot enlist the help of any more volunteers.The Orwell Gateway Club has been running since 1967 and is currently based at the Christ Church in Tacket Street, Ipswich.

A SOCIAL club for people with learning difficulties is facing closure if it cannot enlist the help of any more volunteers.

The Orwell Gateway Club has been running since 1967 and is currently based at the Christ Church in Tacket Street, Ipswich.

With more than 70 members it is not a situation where the club would close because of lack of interest but it needs one volunteer for every three or four members and it simply cannot cope.

Colin Bolt, chairman of the club, said: “In some cases the social club is the only time the member will get out of the house all week and it would be such a shame to take that away.

“We offer them activities from art and craftwork to games such as billiards and darts.

“It really is a place for them to getaway and enjoy themselves and we have people from all over the town with all kinds of conditions coming along.”

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But all of the members have been warned that if the club cannot find another six volunteers by Christmas it will have to close.

Mr Bolt added: “When we told the members it may have to close many of them were really shocked. The club has been a large part of their lives for so long I don't think they had considered being without it.

“I have been running the club for the last 15 years so it is not just the members who consider it as a large part of their lives.”

The club runs every Thursday evening during term time from 6.30 to 9pm.

Anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering for the club can contact Colin or his wife, Jackie, on 01473 402342.

N Do you run a club which faces closure? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk