East Kent Mencap officially opens new GOLD home in Cliftonville

A workshop at the GOLD open day

A project run by East Kent Mencap has officially opened a new base thanks to cash from the Big Lottery Fund.

Getting On with Learning Disabilities (GOLD) is a project that supports people with a learning disability living in Thanet to achieve their goals, so they can live the life they want.

The grand opening of 215 Northdown Road was held on Wednesday, January 17 and welcomed 80 guests throughout the day. The event highlighted what GOLD does as well as celebrating everything the project has achieved in its first two years.

Big Lottery Funding Manager for Kent, East & West Sussex, Jane Haddock, cut the ribbon to officially open the doors and guests heard speeches from GOLD members, Ben Constable and Scot Cheater on how the project has helped them.

Isle artist, Stacey Chapman, of Art Sea Craft Sea, held an engaging workshop during the day with the aim of creating a dynamic window display for the new premises. On the day she asked the question; ‘What does a learning disability look like to you?’ Guests used colourful materials and made dynamic shapes to create a visual representation of themselves for the display.

Various members of GOLD came along to ensure the day was a success with Tanya Post and Rosie Veasey signing in guests on arrival and welcoming them with chocolate. Neil Kerbey and David Tate, informed guests on EasyRead information, along with regular social groups people could attend to meet new friends and useful websites to know.

Videos of activities and highlights of the project so far were shown on a projector along with photos of various outings and activities. GOLD volunteer Brian Searle was on hand to ensure people were enjoying themselves and to give out refreshments. Brian is retired and has been volunteering for the weekly social club for the past 18 months.

The new office is open for visitors on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm Anyone who thinks the GOLD project can help them is free to pop in during this time or phone 0845-004-1876 to book a private appointment.

Big Lottery Funding Manager for Kent, East & West Sussex, Jane Haddock, said: “One of things I love about working for Big Lottery Fund is that we get to see amazing projects like this come to fruition, after much hard work and dedication from staff, volunteers and the community itself. While Big Lottery provides funding, it’s the people here that helped to turn a great idea into reality and bring people together to help others fulfil their potential.”

Ben Constable, who regularly attends GOLD, said: “I have made a lot of friends at GOLD. There are activities to do, so I am not stuck at home doing nothing. I am less lonely now.”

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