Multi-ability Wellingborough social club desperate for members and volunteer drivers

Nene Valley Phab Club celebrates its 45th anniversary this year but organisers needs a helping hand

Organisers of a Wellingborough-based social club for adults with a range of abilities have appealed for more people to help with and join their weekly meet ups.

Nene Valley Phab Club is one of the 150 Phab Clubs across England and Wales that enables adults with disabilities to get together with friends and family for activities and social events.

Founded in 1975 in Kettering, the club moved to Wellingborough's Glamis Hall in 2019 with most members bused in from Wellingborough, Irchester and Rushden.

The Nene Valley Phab Club members

Rita Welsh, co-leader of Nene Valley Phab Club, said: "We are desperate for new members, particularly minibus drivers to pick up our members on club nights.

"Members get door-to-door transport all for £2 but we really need more drivers with category D on their licences to help us.

"We are a very friendly bunch and we have a lot of fun and there's always a lot of banter on the bus."

Activities organised by the committee include going out for pub meals, holding parties, having games nights and hosting talks on a variety of different subjects from guest speakers.

Vanessa and Darren King

Weekends activities include days outs including visits to the seaside or the zoo and Christmas shopping trips.

Rita, 71, became involved with the club 34 years ago wanting to give back to the organisation after her son Neil became a wheelchair user for a year, but she now thinks she's 'getting too old' to carry on with her role for much longer.

She said: "We would really like some people to help us with the admin side of the club, as well as driving the minibuses.

"We also are looking for new members to come and join us, also we would like some new members to help run the club.

Phab Club members

"The members are such a nice bunch of happy-go-lucky people. We're really a friendship group and we've even had two couples meet and get married at Phab."

Co-leader Vanessa King met her husband Darren at the club - one of two Phab Club marriages down the years.

After joining the club in 1997, she has been co-leader for ten years.

She said: "It's a fantastic club, We don't discriminate. It's a great way to get out and meet people. Just give it a go and see how you feel. Just turn up.

Members, who must be over 18, pay £2 per week subs to cover the rent of the centre and of the entertainment, and £2 for transport on the two specially adapted vehicles that pick up and drop off in the Wellingborough and Rushden area.

The group meet at Glamis Hall in Goldsmith Road, Wellingborough NN8 3RU, every Wednesday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Rita added: " Phab Clubs can make a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities and their families too.

"It is a place where everyone is treated fairly and no-one is judged. Everyone loves coming."

For further information please go to the group's Facebook page or contact Rita on 01933 678 895 or email [email protected] or contact club secratary Helen Wharton on 01933 225447 or Vanessa on 01933 679056 or email her [email protected]