Thanet cousins work with Ramsgate FC to create activity service for adults with disabilities

Margate Man vs Fat have raised funds for the service being run by Dan and Gary Burgess [in red, Dan left and Gary right].

Two cousins from Ramsgate are heading up a new activity service for adults with mental-health issues and physical and/or learning disabilities which will open at Ramsgate FC’s ground in January.

Gary and Dan Burgess, plus partners Kate Raines, Jodie Polidano and family members Steve and Michele Burgess, aim to provide a place for activities ranging from bingo to sport and karaoke and arts and crafts that are accessible and affordable.

Dan and Gary currently work at supported living premises in Deal but the family are Ramsgate-based and want to provide a service on the isle.

Gary said: “A lot of the guys we support go to day centres but these cost £60-70 a time. They are great centres but a lot of the guys we support can’t afford them.

“So we are setting up, in association with Ramsgate FC, It’s Your Choice which we hope to offer at £6 a session.”

Dan added: “We felt that day centres in the local area for disabled people are often expensive and are based in rural areas which are difficult to travel to by public transport.  Therefore, we decided to open It’s Your Choice which is an affordable day service for adults for disabled people which is easily accessible.

“It’s Your Choice gives disabled adults the opportunity to learn, make new friends and engage in activities which they may have not had the chance to try before, at an affordable price.

“The activities service is a family run business and is working in partnership with Ramsgate Football Club.”

Charity match and launch event

To help raise funds for the service there was a charity match with Margate Man vs Fat last Sunday which brought in just above £400.

There will also be a launch event at Ramsgate FC’s WW Martin ground on December 16 which will feature a raffle with prizes including  2  premier league football tickets and tickets to Disney on Ice in the box at the 02 Arena.

There will also be archery tasters and music from singer Warwick Eldred.

Gary, 39, said: “We want to fundraise but it is about providing the service at cost not for financial gain. My grandad used to steward at Ramsgate FC and we used to go there as a family so when we started talking about it my cousin said ‘what about Ramsgate FC’ and they have been absolutely amazing and helped with DBS’s, clothing, promoting the raffle. We are really lucky that they are letting us use the facilities.”

The open day fundraiser takes place at Ramsgate FC, in Prices Avenue, on December 16 from 11am to 3pm. Food and refreshments will be available. This is an adult only event.

Service plans

The sessions launch on January 11 some 40-50 people can be catered for at a time.

It is planned to start at one session per week from 10am to noon, costing £6, and for an additional £4 people can stay on until 2pm. Sessions will be held on Thursdays.

Gary added: “If it goes well we could add more days. Hopefully we will build it and they will come.”

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