A GROUP supporting people with learning disabilities has been put forward for an accolade.
United Response Social has been nominated for the title of community group of the year in 2014’s Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
The award is sponsored by South Tyneside Homes.
The group, known as U R Social, meets every Thursday at St Jude’s Church Hall in Laygate, South Shields.
Adults attend for cookery lessons, a tea and coffee morning, luncheon club and a karaoke disco each week.
The group was nominated by support worker Andrew Buddin, who regularly takes people along to the weekly get-togethers.
He said: “They needed a safe environment, on a public transport route and activities to improve their quality of life.
“In the time I have been going to the social, my service user, a non-verbal wheelchair-bound gentleman, has improved in confidence and social skills.
“His sense of humour’s improved, and he definitely looks forward to going.
“I can’t praise U R Social enough. The staff work unbelievably hard. They really deserve some credit.”
Yvonne Parkin, a senior support worker for United Response Social, said: “It’s somewhere for them to go and make friends. This is a place they can come to meet up with friends and build relationships.
“All the staff are just overwhelmed to be nominated because we didn’t expect it.
“All we want to do is try to make people’s lives a bit better and help them build lasting relationships, but we didn’t think we were changing things so much that we’d be nominated for an award like this.
“It really is a big team effort, and I think it would be excellent for us all if we won.
“We’ve lost funding, and last year we nearly lost our jobs, so getting an award like this would just show that it’s all been worthwhile.”
U R Social meets every Thursday from 10am.