Shropshire Star

Watch: Festive greeting for Telford social club members

Members of a social club for vulnerable adults which has been unable to meet since March received an early greeting from Santa.

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Santa paid a visit to the home of: Jason Smith, with helpers Cheryl Thomas and Chris Corfield

The Telford Gateway Club cares for and supports adults with learning difficulties throughout the borough, but had to cancel its arrangements for the year, including the group’s annual holiday, due to the pandemic.

But volunteers from the organisation have made sure members have a festive winter period, with a visit from Father Christmas and his helpers.

Cheryl Thomas, who has given up her time for the club for the last eight years, said all 40 members received a gift.

She said: "We decided as we can't meet or have our Christmas party, we would visit each member to see how they are getting on.

Santa paid a visit with helpers Cheryl Thomas and Chris Corfield

"I think the group's really important and this has proved that – members are all telling us how much they miss the group and each other.

"They make such good friends at the club and it's really hit home how lonely some of them have been since March, as many of them are classed as vulnerable and are shielding."

The club was due to visit Torquay for its annual holiday this year before plans were cancelled.

Cheryl said it had been a "difficult" year, but that the Christmas visit put a smile on the faces of all involved.

"It was great to cheer them up a bit, and we were able to check on how they all were too," she said.

Santa paid a visit with helpers Cheryl Thomas and Chris Corfield

"We also let members know the club hasn't finished and that we will be back. It was nice to reassure them as I know some were concerned it wouldn't start up again."

The club, which usually meets every Monday at Ketley Methodist Church, has been running for more than 40 years.

Stalwart volunteer of more than 30 years, Paulette Bruce, won a volunteer commendation at the Shropshire Star awards last year, and fellow volunteer Ryan Perrins has been nominated this year.

For more information or to get involved, visit the group’s Facebook page.

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