Get Out and About with Bespoke at the Tanyard
Sue Lines from the Tanyard Youth Project, based in Pembroke, introduced me to Lorna Bond and the new group she has been instrumental in setting up, which meets on a Tuesday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm.
It had been an accidental meeting between Sue and Lorna, and the women hit it off immediately. As a consequence, Lorna’s idea to set up a group for people with mobility issues found a home.
Lorna told me about her life with spondylitis. Spondylitis is a serious and chronic inflammation of the vertebrae.
“I had major spinal surgery when I was 19,” she told me. “But it didn’t stop me living a full life.” She went on to obtain a diploma as a nursery nurse and worked for some years as a dental nurse, married and had her children and then grandchildren.
Five major spinal surgeries followed over the years. On the fourth she developed an infection which caused a leakage of spinal fluid. Lorna was very poorly indeed and spent six weeks in hospital in constant pain. She searched around for something to distract herself and, being the warm-hearted, open person that she is, she began to think about people like herself who were isolated by mobility issues.
The fifth surgery left Lorna unable to weight-bear and she is now a permanent wheelchair user. She told me that she has a number of health issues that have a huge effect upon her life but she felt it was important to find things to occupy herself.
“ Being dependent upon the use of a wheelchair can be very challenging,” she explained. “It’s not easy to get the equipment that people need to get out and about, so many people, of all ages, are isolated and lonely.”
That is why Lorna started Bespoke Individuals, a place for people to come together, learn new skills, make friends and generally have a good time together.
Back at the launch of the club in August 2019, I had spoken to Pauline West who told me that she can’t walk very far. “I live in Jameston,” she said, “and I had a mobility car which was taken off me. I had to go to a tribunal which is very stressful.” She was undertaking a swimming challenge for the charity Aspire when I met her and looking for sponsors.
Lorna’s mum , who is a great supporter of her daughter, told me that she is also challenged by mobility issues. “The group is such a good idea. So many places are not accessible and it’s easy to become isolated. Between us, this group can find activities and places where we can come together and support each other.”
Following the success of the launch, with its abundance of raffle prizes, in August, the group have been meeting at the Tanyard Youth Project regularly
Of the latest meeting Sue of the Tanyard said: “Another amazing session today with lots of laughter. New members joining! Wonderful stuff and some amazing feedback for the group! Brilliant for networking. Do tell your friends.”
You can find the group on Facebook: Lorna Bond, Bespoke
The group meets at: Tanyard Youth Project, Commons Road, Pembroke SA71 4EA; 01646 680068; www.tanyardyouthproject.co.uk