Bespoke: a Place to Make Friends
It was unfortunate when we caught up with Bespoke at the Tanyard in Pembroke recently, that its founder, Lorna Bond, couldn’t be with us because she was unwell.
Anne Marie, who is a staunch supporter, spoke to us about the group which was set up to support people with mobility challenges. “Originally the group was set up to provide support for wheelchair users or just people who find getting about difficult,” she explained. “We have expanded since we began. Now we welcome anyone over 18 with mental as well as physical disabilities.”
The group meet every Tuesday between 1.45pm and 3.45pm for a wide range of activities, including talks, crafts, darts, guitar barbecues, meals out and boxing.
I talked briefly to Chris McEwen who runs a boxing club in Pembroke Dock, working with people of all ages and abilities. He told me that he set up a club, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Boxing Club, following an accident at work. He says it has given him a new focus and he clearly loves sharing his skills with the members of Bespoke with whom he has formed a strong bond.
I asked the Bespoke group what they liked about their sessions at the Tanyard, over an earring-making session.
“Friendship and tea,” laughed Wendy, who is physically disabled and unable to drive. “Coming here gives my husband a break too, which gives me back a bit of independence.”
Claira comes along with her friend Gail. She told us that the group was very friendly. “It really feels non-judgmental. It doesn’t feel like a group of disabled people. There is always something different to do and people make friends easily here.”
Another member who asked us not to use her name said: “I retired from work because of anxiety and lost touch with everyone, and I lost my confidence. This group just flows. I can just be here.”
“We welcome new members.” Anne Marie said. “Lorna does a fantastic job organising the club. It was set up to reduce social isolation and it has quickly become a great place to make friends.”
The group agrees.
Every Tuesday, 1.45-3.45pm, The Tanyard, Commons Road, Pembroke, SA71 4EA; 01646 680068. Email Lorna Bond; firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris McEwen is on Facebook.