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Sun, sea and Pontins in Wales for Warley Gateway Club thanks to FirstGroup

Friday 23 July 2010

News image.

The UK’s largest transport operator has provided some much needed cheer to a charitable club in Smethwick, West midlands, whose members suffer from learning disabilities.

FirstGroup has provided the Warley Gateway Club, who meet every Monday at St Albans Community Centre, with £1,500 so that members can enjoy a few days at Pontins in Prestatyn, Wales.  In total 18 of the 28 members, accompanied by six volunteers, have chosen to enjoy the sea, sand and the entertainment at Pontins

The voluntary club, whose members come from deprived areas of Sandwell, will set off on Monday 26 July and return Friday 30 July.

Janet Howell, Secretary of the Club, has organised the trip and contacted First for help with funding.  Her daughter Josie (34) has Downs Syndrome and is a member of the club.  Janet said:  “We are very grateful to First for its generous donation.  We have taken our members on day trips before, but this will be the first time we’ve been on an overnight excursion.  The whole club, and Josie in particular, is buzzing with anticipation – we are very much looking forward to our trip to Wales.

“The Warley Gateway Club is entirely run by volunteers and provides a much needed excuse for our members to enjoy a change of scenery once a week.  Our members are aged between 18 and 62 and most do not venture out at night and rarely have the opportunity to interact with other people in such a welcoming and friendly environment.  

“The members play bingo, make jewellery, cook and keep fit at the club.  We notice week on week a real improvement in our members’ self esteem, confidence and communication skills.”

Avril Gill, FirstGroup’s Marketing Manager and member of First’s Charity and Sponsorship Committee, said: “I am pleased we have been able to help and that the members are looking forward to Pontins – I hope the weather is kind to them.”

The Warley Gateway Club was awarded funding by FirstGroup’s Sponsorship and Charity Committee.  The Committee comprises 12 members of staff based throughout Britain and considers requests for funding and gifts from groups and organisations across the country. It aims to provide charitable support in line with three specific criteria – young people, health and the environment. For further information on the Committee please visit

Photo caption: Janet Howell, Secretary of Warley Gateway Club, has secured funding from FirstGroup to take her members to Pontins in Wales for a few days

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