Hi my name is Esty Bruck and I run the programmes at the Friendship Circle here in Manchester
Too many people are isolated because of a disability, be it physical or mental, and too many people not able to reach their potential because of limitations put on them by society. We aim to break down these barriers and stereotypes.
The Friendship Circle’s vision is a one of acceptance, inclusion and happiness. We seek to pave the way for a community that embraces people with differences and their families, and allows each person to contribute in his/her own way. A community filled with love and respect for everyone, regardless of age, race, religious affiliation, or personal differences.
Our goal is to help those who may struggle socially connect with people from the community through a range of a range of exciting and fun programmes and activities. Many of the Langdon college and community residents regularly attend The Friendship Circle programmes.
We have a wide range of activities, to suit all tastes, including a weekly art club, a monthly dance classes as well as social nights out bowling, to dinner or to more adventurous places such as paintballing or Lazerquest. Our nights in are also well liked.
We have had sports quizzes , pamper evenings, games night. The summer time brings trips and bbqs and we are continually looking for innovative ways to bring people together.
Many residents also benefit from our one to one buddy programme, where an individual will be paired up with someone with similar interests and they will go out on a regular basis, do something fun and bond on a one to one level.
There is always a load going on over Jewish festivals! We try and make Judaism a fun and exciting experience for all – Purim , Chanuka , Lag b’omer, Sukkot – it’s all happening!
As well as our regular weekly activities we have recently launched a volunteering club which gives our members an opportunity to volunteer for other charities and help people less fortunate than themselves.
Our regular big Shabbat meals are always extremely popular. We are now up to our 40th Shabbat meal in. That’s 3200 meals served! These meals are the epitome of what we are trying to do, bringing all kinds of people together under one roof to sing, dance, chat, laugh, eat and enjoy each other’s company. Everyone sits side by side regardless of age, background or ability.
The variety of programs is continually expanding. We recently started the dance class which is great fun and good exercise too. We are now also launching a self-defence, swimming class and a gardening club during Spring and Summer.
In March we held our first ever fashion show!! This was a phenomenal event that was produced by students of King David high school. Most of our models were from Langdon and the whole evening was full on glitter and glam!
In the very near future I hope to be starting a parent’s support group for parents of adults with learning disabilities to get together in a relaxed and open environment.
We see The Friendship Circle as a community within the community where people get to unite in a comfortable and non-threatening environment whilst enjoying with fun and stimulating activities.
All in all it’s a very exciting time for The Friendship Circle and its members and I am very optimistic about the future!
If you know anyone that would benefit from The Friendship Circle, or to find out more, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 22nd of May I will be running the Manchester 10k to help raise much needed funds which will help ensure we can sustain our services. All sponsorship would be gratefully received. If you would like to sponsor me and help us continue our work
Esty Bruck – Program Director