Talking with Dianne Griffiths of Forget me not Day Centre (19th March 2012)
Rochford Life: Diane, how many are there of you running the Day Centre?
Dianne: Well there is myself and my colleague, Teresa Milton, and we also have a silent partner.
RL: How long have you actually been here?
Dianne: We’ve been here ten weeks.
RL: And your background?
Dianne: As a carer and foster carer and placement carer for the last thirty two years.
RL: What actually happens here in the Day Centre?
Dianne: The Day Centre is for all and any disabled young people, to teach them skills and we take them out into the community. We also do a holiday club and in that we had two in wheel-chairs. We take them out on the bus - with their wheelchairs; we’ve been bowling to Basildon, we’ve been on the Pier, and we’ve been swimming. We cook lunch if we’re in the Centre, every day, so they decide what they’re having with the lunch and then we go to the local shops, and then cook our lunch. One of our girls who has no verbal speech, to begin with would only stay for two hours (and because of her age she only comes now for three hours), but now she comes in and straight away wants to do cooking, and so she makes cakes and biscuits. We’ve had a blind girl in and we made biscuits with her. Her Mum’s just waiting for her funding then she’ll be back again. Fees are from £45 a day which, I think, is the average that you find for Day Centres.
RL: So thy come back again and again?
Dianne: Yes, these are regulars here today. They book in, but we have a number of people waiting for their funding. At the moment we’re running at a loss, but it will get better. Everyone who comes seems happy and so we’re hoping that we will get more people.
RL: What prompted you to start this up?
Dianne: Teresa and I had talked about it years ago and we felt there was a need for it. We wanted to provide a facility where we could interact with the disabled and we have. People come to us because either they are referred to us or they simply hear about us.
RL: And what’s the range of what you do with them apart from the things we’ve mentioned?
Dianne: We do cooking, washing, doing crafts, playing games, we have a room where they can use the Wii. We get them socialising and getting out into the community, a lot of different things. It’s their Centre so it’s doing what they like. We did a Christmas Disco and a New Year’s Disco before we opened, and that went down really well.
RL: Well it appears a great Centre with a really good feel about it, so may we wish you well and hope it continues to grow. Thank you for sharing with us.