Poppy sits on the sofa, friends either side. They’re chatting, joking and looking at home in their community based club, a service ran by Out There, the activities base of charity Outreach 3 Way.
The snack bar area is buzzing, with people meeting and greeting one other, playing pool, or tapping to the music.
The club is housed in the local community centre, a short cycle ride for Poppy, who’s been making use of the facilities for over two and a half years now.
She used to find meeting new people hard but gradually staff introduced her to others. “Good friends I get here.” she says, pointing them out and listing others who visit on different days.
Out There’s team encourage the friends to organise outings together, like bowling or more recently a meal out in Brighton.
Out There Sports and Leisure Development Officer Ian Burlinson explains “They get to sort the plans out themselves, so they can enjoy their independence just like any group of friends”
Poppy has also been supported with her wish to get fit. First, staff took her to the public gym where she was assisted to workout. Next they encouraged her to use the equipment by herself.
“I know how to do the gym on my own now really” she confirms, “I’m a little bit braver, the gym staff are really nice so I’m sure they’ll help me out.”
Through Out There, Poppy has a discounted membership, so she has the freedom to visit the gym whenever she likes. She also enjoys the many classes available including Zumba. After socialising at the club, she often heads down for a boxing session.
But Poppy’s interests don’t just stop at sports. One of her friends plays the guitar and they’ve done some open mic nights together at local pubs. Speaking about the experience she said “Yes, I was brave”. I want to get back to doing that again soon.”
Seeing people like Poppy develop in their own chosen ways and at their own pace is the best thing about Out There, according to Ian. Being involved in the activities has an undeniably positive effect on the members’ health and wellbeing.
He explains; “All sport and games have rules, like everyday life has rules. People learn the rules of the sport and about teamwork and how to communicate with each-other and they get to take that into their daily lives, too.”
Find out more about Outreach 3 Way.