A group set up to provide adults with disabilities a safe, inclusive and accessible space to socialise is expanding its offering.

Local group JustUs is to provide all adults with disabilities with an enjoyable event/night out in a safe, inclusive and fully-accessible environment.

The group has been known for hosting monthly discos or events in the evening time, but after consulting with other groups within the community, such as day centres and services for adults with disabilities, JustUs has now added afternoon events to their offering.

Speaking to this paper, Shelley Cowan, Treasurer for the group, and a founding committee member, said: "We came back last year [after the easing of pandemic restrictions] with social distancing and had our [main] event at Enniskillen Castle.

"We were able to do indoor events at Hallowe'en and had our discos and a Christmas band, and we kept coming back but realised a lot of people couldn’t come because of transportation and carer issues.

"We decided afternoons were needed [for further events] and got in touch with day centres, and then Fresh Focus, Safe Haven and Lackaghboy Adult Day Centres are bringing bus loads, and car loads of people, and everybody is now fit to be involved.”

The group takes pride in catering for a wide range of adults with disabilities. Shelley said: “We are including all disabilities [in our activities]; as long as you’re an adult, or even an adult with vulnerabilities as well or any adult that is lonely.

"We are here for every person that needs us. We are trying to fill the gap as much as we can for people.”

The Chair of the JustUs group, Margaret Shannon, reflected on how the group came to be, and how it also offers a much-needed social outlet for carers, too.

She said: "The funny thing is, in years and years gone by, myself as a parent [of an adult with a disability], I thought the one thing I missed so much was not being able to socialise with other parents that were in the same boat as me, and we could talk and then be able to sit back and think, ‘That’s the same in your house as it is in our house'. Being a carer can be a lonely life.”

Committee members and attendees to the JustUs events were delighted to recently collect a cheque for £261.68 from Martina Reynolds, Tesco Community Champion after they were selected to benefit from the charity bookstand in Tesco’s Enniskillen store.

Some of those who regularly attend JustUs events were delighted to be at Tesco to receive the cheque.

One of those was David Kelly, from Enniskillen, who had been attending events from around 2020, prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

He said he enjoys “the craic, the music, dancing and seeing all the new people” at JustUs events.

Another JustUs attendee, Clodagh Rooney, also agreed with David. When attending JustUs events, she loves dancing and making new friends, and said JustUs offers “good fun and a good laugh”.

Upcoming JustUs events include an event on March 24, from 7 to 10pm, with singer Claire Dillon; April 2 from 12.30pm to 2.30pm with Bitz and Pieces band; and a gig with The Hand me Downs on April 16, from 2 to 4pm, with all events taking place at the Enniskillen Hotel.

The cost is £5 per adult, with one carer free. Full details on JustUs can be found by joining its private Facebook group.