The Monday Club Leicestershire
The Monday Club was started in 1997 by a group of parents who had adult children with a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome in their late teens and early adulthood. At that time there was no specific service available to meet the needs of their children and so they decided that they would set up a group. The parents secured funding to enable them to initially run a ten week pilot of the service, which was based in the YMCA on East Street and provided spaces for around ten individuals. The initial pilot proved very successful and from this the group was able to secure local authority funding from both city and county councils that enabled the project to continue on. The club relocated from the YMCA to the Peepul Centre in 2008, which allowed us to expand our service and offer a wider range of activities to our members. In August 2009 the club piloted a second session on alternate Wednesday evenings. These sessions primarily took place out in the community and were initially aimed at more socially confident members of the Club. The activities provided on a Wednesday ranged from bowling, meals or trips to sporting and leisure facilities to less expensive activities in response to recognition by members of budgeting requirements. The activities proved to be a success with members, but due to limited funding we were not able to continue with them until April 2013 when extra funding from local authorities allowed us to relaunch the sessions. We have been running the Wednesday group now for almost seven years and have enabled our members to access sport and leisure venues in the city, as well as connect them with organisations and services that provide advocacy and training on a variety of different topics such as preparation for employment.
In 2016 the group moved again to the West End Neighbourhood Centre. In October 2017 the club launched the Health Wellbeing and Fitness project, after securing funding for 1 year from the Big Lottery. The Health Wellbeing and Fitness project came about following research commissioned by the autism charity Autistica, which highlighted that “Autistic people die on average 18 years earlier than the general population and are at heightened risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and other diseases including diabetes and heart disease.” The Monday club adopted the aim of tackling the shorter life spans experienced by people with autism through this project. The project focuses on encouraging members to participate in a range of activities designed to promote health, well-being or fitness, such as walking football, yoga, mindfulness and healthy cooking.
Currently we are providing three activities per week that run simultaneously over the Monday evening between 7pm and 9pm, as well as the fortnightly Wednesday evening group. In terms of membership we currently have around 200 individuals registered as active members of the group and we support around 25 to 30 individuals per session. We refer to those who access the group not as service users, but as members, which we feel promotes a feeling of ownership and belonging to the group. Our service also provides parents and carers with a couple of hours of valuable respite every week.
Meet The Team