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ABLE support makes massive difference for Darren

Published: Friday, 19th January 2024

Praise for a community opportunity service has come from Darren Roberts, who has learning disabilities, for the positive impact it has had on his mental and physical wellbeing.

Darren has been using the ABLE service, run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and based at Tunstall Town Hall, since 2011.

Despite being quite anxious and initially withdrawn, Darren has become an integral part of the group which takes place Monday to Friday.

Sessions at ABLE include art sessions, reading groups, walking groups and guest sessions around first aid and other health and wellbeing topics plus mentoring support from the Learning Disability team and partners from Changes and adult learning services including Pathway and WEA.

Darren Roberts said,

“I am the longest serving member of ABLE, we’ve been in 5 different venues and I’ve followed them from place to place.

“They’re a wonderful organisation, gentle and patient, they understand the troubles that you can sometimes go through. It makes me feel so good inside, having loads of fun with the gang, learning new things.

“Last year I achieved my greatest ambition, performing in the pantomime. If I could give some advice to anyone thinking of joining us at ABLE I’d say “give it a go! Don’t be anxious you’ll get along with us all just fine.”

Cllr Duncan Walker, cabinet member for adults services said:

“The COVID lockdown had a negative impact on Darren’s mental health, but he has come on leaps and bounds so much since restrictions eased.

“The ABLE group has also developed a good camaraderie, where they will often go out for lunch together and socialise outside of the sessions at Tunstall Town Hall.

“Just before Christmas the group performed their own pantomime, which Darren had a big role in. Having these sessions make a big difference to people’s lives.”

To find out more about ABLE, please call 01782 237083 or visit their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/ablestokeontrent