A GROUP of friends with learning disabilities have made their "dream a reality" by setting up their own charity to provide fulfilling daytime activities and courses.
Blueprint Training and Enterprise, based in Franche in Kidderminster, was set up after the group found it difficult to find inexpensive things to do due to social services cuts.
The group are now appealing for more members after work was completed on their £20,000 workshop at Marlpool House, in Marlpool Lane, where the charity hosts its daytime activities and skills sessions.
Amy Buckle, 33, is one of four semi-independent adults with learning disabilities who lives at the property and is also a trustee for the charity.
Her father John Buckle, of Hagley said: "It all began with a group of individuals with learning disabilities who were running out of daytime activities and college courses because of the various cut backs across the system so with a bit of help from their carers, they started looking at doing things themselves.
"They started work in their large garden in Franche with support from the landlord who owned the property. It sort of grew and they then decided to they wanted to get themselves a workshop they could use."
In June last year, Blueprint Training and Enterprise was formed with the help of parents and carers.
Mr Buckle, who runs a consultancy firm for charities, added: "I got involved to say we need to start raising funds to make their dream a reality.
"We started writing to charitable trusts and other organisations and between September and now we’ve raised just over £20,000 to get our workshop."
The charity runs about nine sessions a week, including gardening, cooking, woodwork and arts and crafts classes, from Monday to Saturdays, excluding Thursdays.
Mr Buckle added: "The group are beginning to plant up the garden at the minute, it’s all systems go.
"They also want to start making things that they can perhaps re-sell. They’re all working hard and having a great time. We’re really pleased with the way it’s going.
"We want to offer the facilities to people that might be sitting at home doing nothing because the cost of day services are very, very expensive.
"Sometimes services can cost from £40 to £70 a day, which when you’re on benefits, it can be too much. We’ve got to charge to cover costs but we offer two and a half hour sessions for £10."
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier will be officially opening the charity's workshop on Saturday, May 24.
Blueprint is also looking for trustees or anyone with skills that they would like to pass on to get involved. For more information call 07931 700113.