One of the privileges of being the Pastor at Melksham Baptist Church is that I was invited to be the chairman of the local Gateway Club that meets in the church hall every Thursday evening from 7-9pm
The volunteer leaders start arriving at about 6pm and get out the various activities for the evening; pool, table-tennis, football table, jenga, colouring books and crayons. The hall is quickly transformed with laughter, chat, music and dance and when all the members and helpers are together they can number between 50 and 60 of all ages.
The purpose of the club is to offer those with learning disabilities the opportunity to participate in various recreational activities in a safe and supportive environment. All the activities are voluntary and the views of the members are sought whenever possible.
One innovation was the installation of a juke-box with an extensive play-list, enabling members to choose whatever music they wanted played rather than have a leader choose for them. The club also has various activities away from the church such as special parties, participating in the Melksham Carnival, Millfield School away-day and trips to the seaside.
For a number of years, we have held a Gateway Harvest Festival on the Thursday before the church’s own Harvest Thanksgiving and last year we enhanced this by coming together as church and club and having a simple Harvest Supper together before the service which was great fun. The members particularly enjoy singing and one of the highlights of the year is the Gateway Carol Service at which members read the Christmas story and have the opportunity to sing their favourite carols. They have no inhibitions when it comes to singing and the delight on everyone’s faces is a joy to behold.
The leaders and volunteers are a wonderful group of dedicated people and I thank them for all their hard work, without them the Club could not exist and be such a vital part of the members’ lives. If you are interested in the Gateway Club please contact me, Pastor Tony Brown, either on 07761 320840 or via my e-mail email@example.com and I will pass your details on to the relevant parties.