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Carly’s Group – One Year On

Carly started her own social group a year ago. We catch up on how things are going.
Carly's new group

It’s been a year since you started your group, and it’s fantastic to see how much it’s grown!

Yes, I feel really proud of what we’ve achieved with the group over the past year. It’s been an incredible journey, and seeing the positive impact it’s had on people’s lives makes all the hard work worth it. 

When I think on where we started and how far we’ve come, it feels really amazing. 

Tell us a little about your group

We began with just a handful of members, and now we have a lovely group of 14-20 people with disabilities who come together every week to socialise, learn, and support each other.

Our group is for people aged 25+. It’s especially important for those older than 25, because when you turn 26, a lot of groups and charities have to stop supporting you. So, being 26 can be a really hard age, and it’s difficult to find groups. But we will always welcome anyone in their early 20s if they want to come along and join us 🙂

I love my group, because it helped to fill that gap in my local area. And helping others to make that transition from young person to adulthood feels really positive.


carly's group talk and play games

What kind of things does your group do?

It’s a welcoming and inclusive group where everyone feels comfortable and supported.

We meet once a week, and our activities range from board games and card games to occasional outings like bowling trips.

Meeting once a week gives everyone chance to develop social skills, build friendships, and have fun in a safe and supportive setting.

carly's group has been running for 1 year

Where do you meet?

We meet in a local hall which I hire out, and which has a little storage for me to keep some supplies.

This means I can run a tuck shop, so that people can buy snacks and drinks at affordable prices.

It all sounds like a lot of fun! How do you go about organising these activities and ensuring that everyone feels included?

I try to listen to the interests and preferences of the group members and incorporate their suggestions into our plans.

We also have simple rules in place to ensure that everyone feels respected and valued. We focus on the importance of kindness, empathy, and inclusivity.

Sometimes, I have the support of a helper who assists me during the sessions, but otherwise it’s just me who runs the group.

We can all chat via our private Facebook Group, where I can also post updates or send messages.

Have you had any funding or support?

Yes, securing funding has been crucial for getting the group started, and for covering expenses like venue hire and supplies for activities.

We’ve received support from organisations like the Beville Trust and the Partnership Foundation. They were instrumental in helping me get started and helping me fill out forms, and open a bank account

Also, local services like the Hive and Portsmouth Parent Voice have provided invaluable guidance and assistance. 

We’re hoping to reach out to some local companies soon, for donations for raffle prizes.

Carly's new group

What are your goals for the next couple of years?

I’d love to see the group continue to thrive and grow. I’m so happy to have a group that  helps support and empower people with disabilities.

I hope to expand our reach and connect with even more individuals who can benefit from our activities and support network.

Ultimately, I guess I want to challenge perceptions and create a community where everyone feels valued and accepted, we can help foster a more inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their potential and live their best lives.

Any advice for starting your own group?

Yes, I’ve got lots of tips and I’m sharing them all very soon in a workshop on the Hub. But if you miss that, then there’ll be a guide to starting your own group 

“I’m so happy to have a group that  helps support and empower people with disabilities.”




  • Preferred Name: Órla
  • Role at KIDS: Wellbeing co-ordinator.
  • About me: I run the online well-being groups and a group in Wandsworth. I am also a playworker! I have a background in Art therapy. 
  • Fun facts: I love different wheels! I have roller-skates, a surf-skate board and a bike. 


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