Socialise Drop In


Your story

Socialise is a drop in group for vulnerable adults. It is run by some volunteers and some part time staff. Members pay entrance in which is used to improve the centre and to enable activities to take place such as parties, trips, craft sessions, etc.

Group introduction

For many years I worked as a Registered Child Minder for Rochdale Council and then as a Play Worker and also voluntary Youth Worker. In 1998 I joined Manchester Council as a Support Worker for Adults with Disabilities. I moved around from Support Worker to Assistant Network Manager (Managing Houses and Staff - providing homes and care for people with disabilities living in supported living in the local community). I then became a Care Manager for Manchester Learning Disability Partnership.

Whilst working along for, and with Manchester Council, I witnessed a lot of cuts to services for vulnerable people. In August 2013 I decided to take voluntary severance and start my own drop in.

I believe I can provide a safe, stimulating environment for vulnerable adults. I am aiming to provide a cheap alternative to families who have lost services or are looking for alternative day time support for their loved ones.

I currently rent Higher Blackley Community Centre, Victoria Avenue, Blackley, 4 days a week. I employ 5 people on minimum wage for 16 hours a week who would otherwise be on various benefits such as jobseekers etc. We also have 4 volunteers. Socialise is not a charity but any profit goes back into the group for equipment, materials and events. I believe in keeping the costs affordable to provide a service to local people who and vulnerable.

Socialise takes referrals from Manchester Learning Disability Partnership, Community Teams, local private care providers, Manchester Shared Lives, Supported Living (Mch Networks), and has strong links with the local Housing, Councillers, Police and Fire Service. We also support local Carers Groups such as Talbot House and Rochdale Parents of Carers. We have over 30 members currently from age 17 to 80 and provide a number of activities such as gardening, bingo, karaoke, arts and crafts, board games and educational courses including basis self care and cooking.
We took part in the Manchester parade and planning a Blackley Parade with the local community band, dancers, our group and much more. We were nominated for your grant by Lynne Duric-Visual Artist, commissioned by Walk the Plank to work with the group as part of Manchester Day Parade 2015 (Skipton Building Society Member). We were runners up in 2015 and would love to be winners in 2016.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

We would use this money to purchase much needed equipment such as board games, arts and craft materials. I initially used some of my redundancy money, over £1,000, on games and art materials to set up.

We have been open nearly 3 years and lots of the games have missing pieces and we constantly use lots of arts and crafts etc. We would love to purchase another lap top for our members to use.

We intend to keep this group going to support vulnerable adults in their own community with safe, meaningful activities. We get more members each week due to council cut backs and people losing their initial services which were provided by the council before all the recent cuts. We are trying to support people with advice on benefits, form filling and support to use the telephone etc. We would to be able to purchase a laptop so we could teach people how to pay online bills, search for information, etc.

"We don't do it for the money we do it for the love.

Jackie Betney, Manager, Socialise Drop In"

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