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Gants Hill club offers to plug gap for special centre

PUBLISHED: 14:14 29 September 2010

ARTY: Members of the crafts group who are willing to share thier space

ARTY: Members of the crafts group who are willing to share thier space

Archant

AN ARTS and crafts club has said it can step in if a cherished centre for people with mental health issues does close down.

AN ARTS and crafts club has said it can step in if a cherished centre for people with mental health issues does close down.

Members of Rascals arts club, which meets every Friday and Monday at Gants Hill Methodist Church, Gants Hill, were moved by the plight of users of the Ley Street Resource Centre who appeared in the Recorder protesting about proposals to close their meeting place.

Council chiefs are looking to axe the Monday to Friday service, which has 145 active users and includes an arts and crafts and TV room, as well as facilities for massage and quiet time.

Rascals founder Phillip Joseph said: “When I read that, I just thought, well we’ve got lots of space, they are welcome to come down to us when we’re open.

“And that goes for any group that is struggling after the recession or fighting cuts.”

“Vulnerable groups should not have to suffer so anything we can do to give them somewhere to go we will.”

Mr Joseph said the club already caters for people with learning difficulties, as well as older people and other mental health needs.

He has dedicated much of the group’s 21-year history to helping people learn through craftwork.

He said: “Just because someone’s got learning difficulties doesn’t mean they can’t learn.

“If you sit with them and be a bit patient you find they do respond.

“We can help them to get all the gear that they need.

“We have never closed ever and we’re able to keep costs down.

The proposals are part of £5.8million of savings being made by the council to offset government budget cuts.

To get in touch with Rascals, call 020 85903125.

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