Over 80 customers and staff from across around 14 supported living services in Clacton and Colchester came together to enjoy an afternoon of food, fun and karaoke in the Great Horkesley Village Hall.

The schemes offer a range of different support for people with learning difficulties which helps them to live as independently as possible in the local community. The schemes tend to be quite small, with the largest only having five residents, and staff are able to stay overnight if the customers need a higher level of support.

Carol and Barry had come along from their home in Douglas Road to socialise with their friends and other customers; “I like where we live and the staff are really good” said Barry. The couple enjoyed the karaoke that was laid on and despite an early downpour, the sun eventually came out so they could take part in some of the outdoor games and activities.

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There was a great spread for everyone to enjoy, including a range of cakes made and decorated by the customers with help from the staff – all of which went down very well!

The whole event was organised by staff, including Debbie Hull, deputy operations manager for care and support in Essex:

It’s been a real joint effort, with team managers, seniors and staff all chipping in. It’s important that we help our customers have a normal life and experience as much as possible so events like this are great to bring everyone together.

Sandra Merrygold, care services team leader:

It’s nice to come out and see everyone from the different schemes. I used to work in insurance but I really enjoy this kind of work and it’s great to see the customers having such a good time.

All in all it was a great afternoon with lots of fun had by customers and staff alike, here’s looking forward to the next one!