Oakdale club celebrates birthday
3:10pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
A YOUTH club set up to give autistic youngsters a place to socialise is celebrating its first birthday.
The Chill Club, based at Oakdale Christian Centre, has gone from strength to strength since it was set up by a group of volunteers led by former Caerphilly council worker Wendy West last March.
It now has 14 regular members and recently won almost £5,000 Big Lottery funding to help with running costs, buy materials and IT equipment like iPads.
The youth club was set up with the aim of bringing like-minded children together in a place where they could be themselves and learn new skills.
The youngsters aged from seven to 18 meet every Wednesday from 6.30pm to 8pm where they can enjoy a range of activities like table tennis, pool, and computer games.
They also run a tuck shop and take part in regular craft sessions.
Mrs West said volunteers had noticed a marked difference in the children since they have been attending the club.
She said: “It doesn’t matter where they are on the autistic spectrum they all mix together.
“They don’t judge each other and we teach and encourage them to interact, to take part in team building sessions and they don’t even realise they are doing it.
“It’s really rewarding and lovely to see the children just being themselves, they love it here – it’s their youth club.
Mrs West praised the support of local organisations, such as Sainsbury’s in Pontllanfraith, which put on a Christmas party for the group and have donated tickets for days out.
Solely dependent on volunteers, the club is looking for more people to help out.
Anyone who can help or is interested in their child attending can call Mrs West on 07905 869949.