Tonight I’m off to The Monday Club. It’s a club based in Abbots Langley which supports adults with learning disabilities, providing fun activities whilst giving carers a break for a few hours once a week.
The man who set The Monday Club up in 1988 has a child with learning difficulties, and decided to set up a group with other parents in a bid to enhance their kids’ lives. At this moment, he had no idea quite how many people’s lives he would brighten.
For one, this club turned my entire life around at the age of 16. It genuinely made me think from a completely different perspective, and changed my mindset.
As a socially awkward teenager, I used to dread speaking to strangers, and absolutely detested school. There was nothing I was really passionate about.
At the beginning of lower sixth, our school made us do some volunteer work to add something to our CVs. I was given the Monday Club.
As the weeks went by, I found myself a lot more confident, enjoying everyone’s company, making others happy and also meeting other people who enjoyed doing the same kind of things. We would fund-raise together, and I even ended up cycling the UK with a bunch of these crazy people in 2012!
There were weeks which were more difficult than others, but moments which would make your month, just seeing how happy something as simple as a conversation or game of 4-in-a-row can make somebody.
Having volunteered from the age of 16 to 22, it began to clash with work so I couldn’t go as often, but the club has continued to grow and gain new volunteers as well as members; my brother included.
Tonight, we are going along to surprise John and thank him for all he’s done for so many. After 28 years of incredible work, and the countless people he’s helped, he is having to step down due to health issues.
We need more people like John in the world, and more places like the Monday Club.
Somewhere people go just to make each other smile.