Group for adults with learning disabilities 'needs a new home'

A growing support group for adults with learning disabilities is making an urgent appeal for a new meeting place in Lichfield.

Members of Friends2Friends outside Cruck House in Lichfield.
Members of Friends2Friends outside Cruck House in Lichfield.

Friends2Friends, which has been providing a place for members to gather and gain new skills for almost a decade, currently meets at Cruck House and Curborough Community Centre.

However, Cruck House in Stowe Street is too small to accommodate the group as it grows and while Friends2Friends is grateful for its availability, and that of Curborough Community Centre in Reynolds Close, organisers Alison Wellon and Rushane Allsopp say a larger, permanent base is needed.

"The group is growing and we need more space," said Alison.

"We have been given some funding by Lichfield District Council to help with the cost of a new venue but each place we have identified in Lichfield has been earmarked for the development of more apartments or has not been available."

Friends2Friemds believe Minster Hall off Dam Street, which is currently locked up, would be ideal.

"When we asked Staffordshire County Council about Minster Hall, we were sent a letter to say it was unavailable as it was up for sale which we think is a tragedy," said Alison.

"Friends2Friends feel that we could build Minster Hall back into the community hub for which it was built if allowed.

"We would happily look at running the building and using it for our group but would also encourage access from other groups as well.

"We have already had interest from people willing to do this."

Friends2Friends has some 40 members and there is a waiting list. It is a member-led group giving guidance and advice to help members gain in confidence.

They enjoy activities together, go on outings and raise funds.

For many years the Adult Training Centre in Cherry Orchard was a facility where people with learning disabilities could meet and learn but it was closed and the site was transformed into the Five Spires Academy, a primary school.

Friends2Friends exists to prevent these vulnerable members of the community from becoming isolated and its organisers are appealing for help from anyone who might be able to provide premises.

Anyone who is able to help or has any suggestions is asked to contact Alison on 07800 576645 or email f2friendscharity@gmail.com

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