‘Crisis over’ for Hitchin and Letchworth disability group after Comet appeal

Derek Salter and his wife Olwen with the minibus

Derek Salter and his wife Olwen with the minibus - Credit: Archant

A group which faced closure due to the lack of volunteers has said the “crisis is over” after help from the Comet.

The Hitchin Letchworth and District Mencap group could have folded in a year if it was not able to recruit more volunteers but, following an appeal in the Comet last month, the group is now in the process of recruiting a transport officer, a secretary and two new helpers.

The branch, which runs from Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrew Church in Nightingale Road in Hitchin, was set up in 1965 to provide support for parents and families of children and young people with learning difficulties.

Derek Salter, acting secretary for the group, said: “The crisis is over and we hope they will settle in and be officially appointed. Thanks to the Comet we have had loads of people get in touch to offer their time to help us. Our focus for the future is on integrating people with learning difficulties into the community and we feel that this requires a fresh outlook from a younger generation.”

The group runs the Gateway Club, which meets on alternative Saturday afternoons at the church.

Its members can enjoy an afternoon of activities such as games, crafts, puzzles, a disco and exercise led by trained teachers. The sessions are run by volunteers, alongside organised trips throughout the year.

The group, which currently has three regular volunteers and three part-time volunteers, as well as a committee board, also offers minibus transport for regular activities such as swimming.

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Mr Salter added: “Hitchin Rotary clubs also provide minibus drivers and without them we would not be able to have the Gateway Club.”

If you are interested in volunteering, call Mr Salter on 01462 454302 or email Derek_sg5@hotmail.com