Golden Friendships charity started with the aim to set up a karaoke group for our friends in the community with additional needs.
Creating a safe and friendly environment was of utmost importance, it was the minimum our friends deserved.
The first day my mother Agnes McLaren sat with a raffle book and I hosted, we started getting to know everyone who attended.
Week two my Auntie Molly Kelly joined, to this day they have been my wing girls.
The love and friendship we experienced was unconditional.
What was to become of this small group of 28 was unimaginable!
We started growing in numbers, volunteers joined and by November we had a board of trustees and were officially a charity.
The opportunity arose to buy the building we used so we asked the community to help.
Together we raised £84,000 and now own Golden Friendships community halls.
I was privileged to become manager of this wonderful organisation, trusted with looking after the welfare of others.
I listen to suggestions and share ideas with the board.
Together we decide actions as a collective.
Most of our 310 Golden Friendship members have been the subject of bullying, name-calling or ridicule at some point in their lives.
Our aim is to create a safe and comfortable environment with services tailored to meet our friends’ needs.
So it gives me great pride to write that, post Covid, Golden Friendships will open the first wheelchair entertainment venue in the whole world – yes THE WHOLE WORLD.
On hearing about our new lowered bar for wheelchair users my great friend Jackie Maceira said, “it will be nice to be seen by the barman when ordering a drink.” WOW!
We plan to run daily clubs for our friends with additional needs, disabilities and our pensioners.
We will tackle loneliness, isolation and poverty.
Thanks to sponsorship from local businesses we will provide FREE theatre nights so families get a night out and take financial pressure off parents who may be struggling.
During school holidays we aim to continue working with WDC to provide food and entertainment for kids, as we don’t want any children going without.
It’s all about Community Helping Community – when you spend money at Golden Friendships it goes right back into helping others who may be less fortunate than yourself.
Thank you all for your continued support.
Jim McLaren, Manager