A new social group that aims to give people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) the opportunity to meet new people and take part in a range of activities has been launched recently in Wokingham, Berkshire.

The group, called @ the Acorn, runs every Tuesday at the Acorn Community Centre, Wokingham. It is already attended by more than 20 people, who take part in a range of activities including hockey, football, skittles and arts and crafts. The group is run by learning disability services provider Norwood, in partnership with Wokingham, Bracknell and Districts Mencap.  Staff from Norwood’s Pamela Barnet Centre, a residential community for adults with learning disabilities in Crowthorne, lead the group.

Leahanne Black, manager of the Pamela Barnett Centre, said: “Our staff identified a real need for this service. The people we support were telling us they wanted to go out and meet and make friends with people from outside Ravenswood, so we looked at ways in which this could be achieved. “This is also a good example of Norwood working in partnership with other organisations, such as Wokingham, Bracknell & Districts Mencap, to provide services that are much needed in the community. We’ve also had some fantastic feedback from families in the local area for which this is vital respite.”

Channah Marks, who lives at the Pamela Barnett Centre, is one of those who benefits from the group.  “I enjoy going to the social group each week,” she said. “I have made some new friends and enjoy chatting with them and playing games. I enjoy the skittles tournament and the hockey. The parachute games which we play at the end always make us all laugh.”