May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Lucy Clapham
Saturday, August 18, 2012
A colourful cavalcade of wheelchairs wound its way through Great Yarmouth this morning to celebrate a disability charity’s special birthday.
Scores of wheelchair users dressed up as pirates, flower power girls and even a dalek to mark the 30th anniversary of Centre 81, a support group that works with disabled people, and were led from the seafront to St George’s Park by a jazz band and troupe of majorettes.
The birthday party continued in the park with a festival, which was officially opened by Yarmouth kick boxing champion Bin Tyler, and included live music, traditional games, a balloon launch, dance and drama.
Centre 81 started in 1981 - the international year for disabled people - and since then has taken great strides to provide a service for people with physical and other disabilities gain skills, independence and confidence.
It has grown from just a handful of members to more than 800 who benefit from its ever expanding door to door transport service, and the well used skills and activity centre at its headquarters in Tar Works Road.
Diana Staines, who has been at the helm of the charity since 2007 as chief executive, said Saturday’s festival was not just intended to be a birthday party.
“One of our aims is for the individuals who enter Centre 81 - whether the door to door or skills centre - is for them to become part of the wider community and for the wider community to become part of the centre, and this is one of the main thrusts of the festival,” she added.
“We want to grow more to help more people.”
As the charity works to support its current members, Ms Satines said she was keen to extend the group’s reach even further across the county and build on the services Centre 81 already provides.
She added: “One of the surprises to a degree is the fact Centre 81 is not well known.
“Now’s the time to say to Great Yarmouth and the wider area ‘this is us we’re here, how can we help enrich your community and how can you help enrich ours?’
“People are not defined by their disability, it’s about your abilities and what have you got to offer the rest of the world.”
● For more details about Centre 81 call 01493 852573.