Recycled hubcaps win environmental award for west Belfast activity club

The Focus Club in west Belfast provides activities for adults with learning difficulties.

It helps them become more independent and feel part of the local community.

Members attend the Glen Road Community Centre in Lenadoon daily and have regular meetings to decide for themselves what activities they want to become involved with.

And now one of their upcycling projects – a floral motif made from discarded vehicle hubcaps – has won the top award from Bryson Recycling in the West Belfast Partnership Community Environmental Awards.

Claire McCallum is Bryson Recycling’s Communications Manager.

She visited the Focus Club to present the members with a plaque naming them as environmental award winners.

She said she was delighted on behalf of the social enterprise company to present them with their award for their imaginative use of recycled material.

Fionnuala Totten, who is responsible for the Focus Club’s activities, said the club members had worked really hard recycling and upcycling all the rubbish they’d found during a clean-up of the local area to create colourful floral designs to hang on the fencing around the Centre and brighten up the area.

She said: “It’s really lovely to see the floral designs when you come into the carpark here.

"They’re bright and colourful and lovely to look at. Everyone taking part in the activity enjoyed making them and felt a sense of achievement in what they made."

Fionnuala said that recycling and other activities like pottery help the adults with their confidence.

She explained: “We’re supported through the Belfast Trust’s Learning and Disability Service.

"The adults have maybe chosen to come here themselves or their family may have thought it was a good place for them to be.

“At the start, they are usually quite quiet, you know, and sometimes we can have behaviours that challenge because they are not used to change and it’s all very different for them.

"But you know, given time and sitting down and listening to them, giving them a chance to speak up for themselves, you really see them grow into their own."

Fionnuala explained the set-up.

“The Focus Club is supported through the Belfast Trust’s Learning and Disability Service and was created out of choice by service users who didn't want to attend mainstream day centres and wanted to be more involved in their local community," she said.

"They're able to call on the support of friends and family and have set themselves up as a community group which allows them to fundraise and fund new opportunities."

She added: "It might mean doing things that they've done before and they want to get better at building their skills.

"It's a very social place for them. It allows them to meet up with friends and they also can meet up with other groups and become known in the community.

"So it builds a profile of people with a learning disability and whatever they want, I have to try and facilitate them."

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