Wisbech PHAB Club has been running in Wisbech since 1981. We have 60 members at present that come from Wisbech and surrounding villages. The majority of our members have learning and physical disabilities. We also have some excellent volunteers, including MIDAS trained drivers, who give their time and support for free. We aim to integrate disabled and able-bodied people through social and welfare activates.
I have been involved in PHAB from when I first started the Wisbech club in 1981. I worked at what was then Octavia Hill Day Centre and felt there was a great need for the people to have a better quality social life as nothing was organised for them.
I started organising small trips and getting people to support me. My boss at the time suggested a PHAB club and I investigated what it was. I then arranged a meeting for interested people to form a committee. One of the parents offered to be the treasurer and we had enough people to get the club up and running.
I found out how other clubs were run and we have followed the philosophy of able and disabled integration ever since. There are always more disabled than able people and that is common in all PHAB clubs. We are also involved in area committee meetings and our Midlands Organiser keeps us informed on their events when clubs can get together. There are some members going to Butlins for a long weekend and this is organised through National PHAB. It is heavily subsidised so members can afford it.
Last year after fund-raising for 3 years we managed to have enough money to buy a brand new bus. Everyone is very proud that we managed to get all the money and I lost count of the number of forms and applications I filled in. It is used all the time and we can now let other groups use it as well which helps the running costs. Club trips are organised on a regular basis and we also do a big coach trip at least once a year.
We are funded mainly from members subscriptions. Our annual flag day and sponsored walk brings in welcome extras and we do get regular small donations from local groups. Members a subscriptions cover our personal liability insurance and hall hire costs.
Our aim is to integrate our members with able bodied people and give them as much of a normal life as possible. Over the years I have seen many changes and thankfully disabled people are better accepted now in society. Better access and laws have helped a lot but there is still a long way to go. PHAB gives the members a bit of “me” time and a chance to see their friends and go out like anyone else! The biggest problem is always transport as we live in a rural area where public accessible transport is very limited.
Carol Alderton (Club Leader)