By: Mark Robinson – Deputy Head (Co-curricular), Framlingham College
Phab Club is a national organisation founded in 1957, which is all about ‘bringing people together of all abilities on equal terms to make more of life together – breaking down community barriers, reducing social isolation, and creating opportunities for disabled people to enjoy the same activities and challenges as non-disabled people, side by side’. We are thrilled to announce that the College Phab Club (the only one in Suffolk!) welcomed its first Guests from the local community on Wednesday, 26th February. The magic of the occasion is summed up by Year 11 pupil, Lottie Rowland:
‘To say we were excited is an understatement. A few weeks of hard planning resulted in us spending a wonderful hour and a half with two lovely sisters and their Mum. We had some drinks and biscuits, whilst chatting to the many adult Phab Club supporters that had come from far and wide to be with us. To ‘break the ice’ we made name badges before decorating Rose’s specially home-baked sugar biscuits, an activity which was as messy as it was delicious! Being so caught up in the moment, we couldn’t believe how quickly the time had flown by. At the end, we were all sad to see our new friends go, but a promise of a return means the group still has much to look forward to.’
Inspired and supported throughout by distinguished O.F., Chris Sneath, M.B.E., Janine Williams (National Development Manager) and various other aficionados, our Phab journey began in earnest back in September 2019. Preliminary preparations included a number of visits and presentations, most notably a trip to the House of Lords for Phab’s Volunteer Awards, where we were treated to the wisdom and charm of Phab’s Vice President, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton… as well as some particularly fine scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam! Since then we have recruited a team of College pupils whole-heartedly committed to the realisation of a programme designed to be of profound benefit for all; pupils with caring personalities, eager to bring their creative ideas and positive energy to our Club. As Year 12 pupil, Rose Dorber, observes:
‘Being a part of the College Phab Club will allow me to give back to the community in so many ways, but most importantly, working with our guests and seeing them interacting with the activities we plan, will be inspiring for everyone.’
The Club is based in the Sixth Form Centre and is held every other Wednesday afternoon, from 4.15- 5.30pm. Volunteers (‘Hosts’) meet every Wednesday to plan and work out the types of activities that might amuse our ‘Guests’ e.g. arts & crafts, music, board games, puzzles, table tennis and computer games.
No doubt the number of Guests will continue to grow, but if you know of anyone in the locality who might benefit from joining us, do please let Janine Williams know (tel. 01825 749826 or 07910 556588).