Anita Dobson presents an appeal on behalf of Phab, a charity that brings together children and adults to help them build social skills and self-confidence.
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Isolation, the feeling as if you have no-one to talk to,
no friends to meet, can be hard enough for most of us, but when you
have a disability, it can make life even more difficult to deal with.
This is where Phab comes in,
a UK-wide charity that supports regular
activity clubs like this one and has been doing so for over 60 years.
They're open to everyone of all ages and abilities
to do what most of us take for granted, have an
opportunity to play games, talk and make friends.
The charity's clubs are special, like this one in Epping Forest.
Adults, as well as children like Keana,
can come to interact with like-minded friends,
which can help with their social interaction and confidence.
So what is the best thing about coming to Phab?
Like, I get to have fun there and there are all these
-people in wheelchairs like me, and things.
-And do you make friends?
Yeah. I've made quite a few.
-Today, we made, like, things out of pipe cleaners and stuff.
And about this wheelchair dancing, do you think it's possible
-I might get to see some of your moves?
Give me a high five. Yes!
# Don't blame it on the sunshine
# Don't blame it on the moonlight
# Don't blame it on the good times
# Blame it on the boogie
# Don't you blame it on the sunshine... #
Hi, Sandy, I've just been having the most wonderful chat
with your little granddaughter, Keana.
I'll bet you have!
She's just adorable! Tell me a little bit about her.
She has cerebral palsy. She was born three months premature.
It wasn't until she was about a year
and a half that we really found out what was really wrong with her.
With Keana, she is always very wary of people that she don't know.
But she's actually got on so well.
She was chatting to other people in there and that, it was lovely.
So, would you say it has benefited Keana coming here to Phab?
Leaps and bounds, Anita.
Confidence like, you know, generally at ease and quite happy.
All the children in there seem very happy.
You know, Phab isn't just for children or those with
disabilities, everyone is welcomed into the Phab family,
from seven-year-olds to 70-year-olds, and beyond.
Natalie's story really shows what's possible being a part of Phab.
At the age of 25, Natalie was working, walking
-and having adventures.
-But, then, tragedy struck.
Life kind of stopped, as I knew it.
I went into hospital as a working, able-bodied person
to coming home as somebody completely different that kind of...
..had gone back to babyhood, in a way,
and being dependent on my parents for everything.
You kind of think, well, how do you start again?
Natalie was severely affected by Guillain-Barre syndrome,
a very rare and serious condition that affects the nerves,
and is now paralysed from the neck down.
Before I was ill, I was always busy, always doing everything.
I also did a lot for other people, and all of a sudden,
that all stopped,
and I'm completely dependent.
I lost a lot. I lost a lot of confidence.
I just felt, "Who needs me now? Where do I fit in?"
I kept my really, really good friends, and they stuck by me,
but I also lost quite a lot of friends.
So, I did start to become quite isolated,
and I didn't want that, I wanted to be the person that I was before.
I found out about Phab through a friend who had also
been in hospital with me.
Everybody was really friendly and nobody asked me questions,
nobody really wanted to know what had happened,
where I had come from, and I instantly felt really at ease.
Nobody knew me before and that was really nice,
to be able to just be me from the start.
I found who I was again, really.
You make friends, you talk to different people
and you share experiences,
so it really has given me my social life back in every way, really.
Since I have been going to Phab, I've actually, as myself,
I've got a lot more confident, I've done some things at Phab that
I never, ever thought I would do. It doesn't have to be that your life is
finished, that's it. You can still go out and do all these things.
And it really has given that back to me.
If you were looking for a role model for somebody who copes with
a serious disability, then I would point you in the direction of Nat.
Her disability doesn't define her, it's just part of who she is.
If you watch, during the course of the evening,
most of the members of Phab will speak to her.
She has a smile and a good word for everybody.
We are about enjoying ourselves, we are a social club, we are
about having a good time. There isn't the support out
there for disabled adults,
and Phab, to some extent, fills that hole.
Without the help of volunteers,
Phab clubs just wouldn't be able to exist.
And donations can help fund life-enhancing activities
like games, arts and crafts, and musical workshops.
You know, one of the most life-affirming experiences
that Phab run are residential summer trips,
often an opportunity for young people with special needs to
get away from home for the first time without their parents.
Caitlin, who has cerebral palsy, and her brother Cameron, spent
a week at an outdoor residential centre in the New Forest,
away from Mum and Dad.
It was different. I got to do stuff that I don't normally do.
It just gave me the independence that I know I needed.
Knowing that I can do different activities gives me
that confidence that maybe I don't get in school or at home.
Often, people don't see her for what she knows that she is,
so she is proud of what she has been able to do.
And a lot of it is people of a similar age
so she has got that peer support.
So it gives her friends that are similar to her.
It's that sense of belonging, it gives them a big sense of belonging.
It has inspired me to go out and meet new friends
and it's inspired me to...erm...
..go to different clubs and try new things.
In terms of brother/sister going together,
it is quite important because, Cameron being that bit younger,
it gives him the opportunity to feel independent.
It gives Caitlin responsibility as well.
That's it, we try, where we can, to say, "You are the big sister."
So, for her, she's got an important job there.
Since 1957, the charity has inspired and supported disabled children
and adults to make more of life together.
This can be key in improving their quality of life and wellbeing.
Now, with your money,
Phab will be able to offer more residential projects
and open up new clubs where the demand is greatest, across the UK.
Think about how important these clubs are to those who
don't have the opportunity to leave their home with ease.
With your generosity, Phab will be able to provide safe
and fun places for people to feel independent,
meet new friends and gain confidence, together.
So, please do give what you can.
To give by phone, call:
Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
Texts cost your donation, plus your standard network message charge,
and 100% of your donation will go to Phab.
For full terms and conditions, or to make a donation online,
visit the Lifeline website at:
Or if you would like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to Phab and send it to:
Write Phab on the back of the envelope.
ALL: Thank you!
Anita Dobson presents an appeal on behalf of Phab, a charity that brings together children and adults, with and without disabilities, to experience group activities, communal events and excursions. The aim is to help them benefit from the social skills and self-confidence gained from the interaction with others.