Posted on 4th September 2019

A programme which provides support to young people with disabilities across Cheshire East is hoping to expand its services thanks to funding from Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner.

Friends for Leisure was successful in its application to David Keane’s Safer Communities Fund for a grant to enable it to recruit more young volunteers so it can support even more disabled young people in the borough.

The charity arranges activities from one-to-one friendships through to group activities, such as drama and sports sessions, for disabled children aged five-21 who live in Cheshire East.

It is currently supported by 120 volunteers, many of whom are under 21, who provide ‘buddying’ support to service users, accompanying them on activities to ensure they remain safe.

It plans to use the funding from the commissioner to train volunteers in Handforth, Wilmslow, Macclesfield, Poynton and Knutsford, allowing it to expand its services in these areas.

It is particularly interested in recruiting more male volunteers as there is currently a shortage in Macclesfield and surrounding areas.

PCC David Keane said: “Friends for Leisure does a fantastic job bringing young people from our communities together to raise awareness of disability issues and reduce the likelihood of disability hate crime occurring.

“Their volunteering scheme also provides fantastic work experience opportunities for young people, reducing anti-social behaviour by giving young people something worthwhile to do with their spare time.

“It’s a fantastic programme which is really making a difference to lots of young people across Cheshire and I’m proud to support it through my Safer Communities Fund.”

Gillian Jones, manager of the charity, added: “Friends for Leisure is delighted to have been successful applicants to the commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund.

“We thank David Keane for understanding the value of our volunteering programme and the positive impact it has on so many young people, both disabled and non-disabled, across Cheshire East.”

Friends for Leisure is one of 22 projects across Cheshire which has recently received Safer Communities Funding to support crime prevention or meet the objectives within the commissioner’s police and crime plan.

To find out more about the Safer Communities Fund, please click here. 

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with Friends for Leisure, please visit their website.