A fun-filled day out for Hull Friendship Group

A group of adults with learning disabilities enjoyed a special day to remember thanks to unexpected funding.

The Friendship Group at Humber NHS Foundation Trust meets monthly and is aimed at those who would benefit from social interaction.

Now, 16 members of the 20-strong group, as well as seven carers, have enjoyed a day trip to The Deep in Hull thanks to £225 donated by Sargent Electrical in Beverley in a grant secured by the Health Stars charity.

Health Stars is the charity for the Trust, working to enhance the community and mental health services provided to more than 600,000 people living in urban, rural and coastal areas across the region.

Sam Grey, Voluntary Services Coordinator at Humber NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The trip was absolutely amazing for the members because many of them wouldn’t have been able to do this type of activity without additional support.

“The majority of them had never been to The Deep before and they were so happy about it.

“One of the members, who is usually very quiet and reserved, stood up tall by the end of the trip and was so happy.

“He was like a different person. He’d bought a new shirt and trousers, and had a shave, because the day meant so much to him.

“Another had been following the penguins on The Deep’s live feed for weeks in advance and wasn’t disappointed when he saw them in front of him. Those were the highlights for me.

“We can’t thank Health Stars enough for granting this wish. It really has made a difference to the group members and it was a joy to see.”

The trip was granted as part of Health Stars’ Circle of Wishes, which is an opportunity to make a wish for something in one of the Trust’s many services.

Anyone can make a wish, including patients, families, or staff, and the charity strives to bring those wishes to reality.

The Friendship Group, which meets at Hanover Court sheltered housing accommodation in Anlaby Road, west Hull, includes members who have been referred following stays on inpatient units or have previously experienced mental health problems.

The group costs £3 per session and provides support through outings, activities and social interaction, with the aim of preventing any further mental health problems in the future.

The trip to The Deep, which took place on September 13th, also included lunch and drinks, as well as a tour of the attraction and the chance to watch a dive show in front of one of the tanks.

Sam said: “It’s fantastic to see Voluntary Services being supported so well within the Trust and it’s making a real difference to the people we work with.

“This trip has helped to reach out to those who often experience social isolation and it’s all down to Health Stars. We are incredibly grateful.”

Jenny Preston, Partnerships Manager at Health Stars, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been able to grant this wish and make the trip possible for the Friendship Group through the generosity of managers and staff at Sargent Electrical.

“We applied for the grant through their Summer Fund and it was brilliant to be successful in that application.

“It was also wonderful to see the group members having such a fantastic time.

“This is just the start of our plans and vision within Health Stars, and we encourage as many people as possible to come forward with their own wishes.”

Now, a second “wish” has been submitted on behalf of the Friendship Group in the hope of organising a trip to the pantomime at Hull Truck Theatre in December.

To find out more about Health Stars, or how to submit a wish, visit www.healthstars.org.uk/circle-of-wishes