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West Leeds Gateway Club celebrates 50 years of supporting adults with learning disabilities

A social club for adults who have a learning disability is celebrating its 50th birthday this month.

West Leeds Gateway Club is run entirely by unpaid volunteers. The club is affiliated to Mencap through its local group scheme but is fully reliant on fundraising and donations to operate.

It is currently held on a weekly basis at West Leeds Activity Centre in Armley but in the past was based at Strawberry Lane Centre after opening at Thornhill Middle School in 1973. Membership at the club has been as high as 50 and they currently have an average of 28 members regularly attending. 

The club is celebrating its 50th with a party with singing, entertainment and a buffet for members.

Volunteer Heather Andrews said: “Our aim at West Leeds Gateway Club has always been to be welcoming and fun. We offer a space for adults with learning disabilities to come along, meet up with friends and make new ones.

“Our coffee bar and disco are relaxed spaces to socialise in, have a drink and a dance. On club nights members enjoy a range of other activities such as bingo, arts and crafts, board games, jigsaws, pool and dominoes.”

The club also arranges various seasonal events throughout the year, including parties and fancy-dress competitions at Easter, Halloween and Bonfire Night plus day trips and visits to pantomimes as well as hosting Christmas parties.

Heather added: “West Leeds Gateway is a safe and accessible environment led by wonderful and dedicated volunteers, many of whom have given their time and love to the club for over 20 years and some for almost the full 50 years the club has been running.

“Our great team support our members to build their confidence, develop new skills and reach their full potential whilst providing a well-earned rest for families and carers.

“The club is very proud of the contribution it has, and continues to, offer to the local community and of the positive impact it has made to the lives of so many members over the last fifty years. We would welcome any new members or volunteers to come along and join us.”

More details about the club can be found here.

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