A BARRHEAD club which provides a vital service to people with disabilities has issued a plea for help to find a new home.

The Tuesday Friendship Club supports around 90 adults with disabilities, learning difficulties and additional support needs, providing them with a safe space where they can enjoy socialising and take part in fun activities.

However, it needs to find a new base after its regular home – the Columba Club – had to shut its doors due to a major electrical fault.

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With the help of staff at the Columba Club, the group managed to secure the use of the hall at St John the Evangelist Church for this week’s meeting but now has nowhere to go.

Mags Monaghan, chair of the Tuesday Friendship Club, said finding a new venue has been “a logistical nightmare.”

“We were all devastated when we found out about the problem at the Columba Club,” said 37-year-old Mags.

“We facilitate around 90 members, plus 40 to 50 care staff, so finding a venue that is fit for purpose has been extremely difficult.

“We contacted the local Rotary Club to ask if they knew of any places we could go but none was available on a Tuesday. We also contacted East Renfrewshire Council but it said it didn’t have any hall spaces on a Tuesday evening.

“We’ve been in contact with church halls, the Salvation Army, golf clubs – we’ve been everywhere and are now at the point where we might have to change our night to another night but we’d have to find a venue which has disabled access, a dancefloor, plenty of table space and flat surfaces. 

“It’s also not that simple to change the night, as this will impact our members who have care packages where it’s arranged that they attend the club on a Tuesday.

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“It could take months for them to find someone who can do another night for them.

“I’d say it is vital to everyone that we find a venue we can use on a Tuesday. This is often the only night of the week our members can get out. Many have been with us since we started the group in May 2017 and we have built up such a brilliant family.

“We also look after a few people with autism who need structure, so a change of night would have an impact on them. They wouldn’t be seeing the same people and that could impact on their behaviour.”

Mags also fears she would lose a number of volunteers if the club moved its meeting time. 

The mum-of-two set up the club to help her sister Gillian, who has cerebral palsy, build confidence and form friendships.

“We have been operating in Barrhead for two-and-a-half years and I honestly have never been part of a better community, so I really hope we can link in with people to keep this club going for the adults who use it.”

A spokesman for the Columba Club said there was no indication of when it may be able to reopen but staff would do what they could to help groups find alternative venues.

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