“Elaine helps me a lot and I would be sad if she ever went away.”
“I would be stressed if Hashum wasn’t here because I care so much about him.”
A tightknit team with a trusted network. Elaine and Hashum explain how Club Kensington & Chelsea has given them a safe environment to become best friends.
Meet Hashum (right), an enthusiastic Dutch student with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a learning disability. Hashum moved to London in 2007 and joined Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee School. Initially Hashum found it difficult to form friendships with a culture change from his home city Amsterdam and struggled to find suitable activities.
Cue Elaine (left), an extremely social Londoner with a learning disability and hearing impairment. Elaine attended multiple community-based activities but lacked a real companion to share her experiences with.
Born 337 miles apart, Elaine and Hashum are a friendship made in heaven and are now inseparable.
Elaine and Hashum understand the importance of being socially connected, both explaining, “It is very important to keep active, socialise, meet new people and see new places.” They just needed the right type of activity to join, in a safe and comfortable environment.
Elaine continued, “We didn’t have much social interaction before joining Club Kensington & Chelsea, but now we see more people that we met here and at EPIC.” EPIC CIC is another community-based service for adults with disabilities in Kensington and another trusted network for them both.
Hashum explains his trust in Elaine is really what helps him visit community activities. “I feel safe with Elaine, she helps me a lot. When I came to London in 2007 I didn’t know anything about sport or how to join a club. We went to an event where we met Disability Sports Coach and they told us about Club Kensington & Chelsea, now we come every week to play sport and see our friends. It is good to socialise and stay healthy. I feel safe here.” Elaine nodded as Hashum explained, adding “It’s true, I feel happy and confident here too.”
Having attended over 200 sessions at Club Kensington & Chelsea, they’re now feeling the benefits of regular exercise too. Elaine was proud to say she felt “fitter than ever” and Hashum now uses his right arm much more than he could before and takes long walks almost every day.
With the Christmas break looming, Hashum briefly reflected on what life would look without Club Kensington & Chelsea permanently. “If Club K&C was ever cancelled or not on I would be angry and upset, and probably just do nothing.”
Hashum then instantly thought of life without Elaine. “I would be sad if she ever went on holiday or away because she is a very good friend.” Elaine replied to Hashum, “I would be stressed if you weren’t here too because I care about you and like supporting you. I am very proud of you.”
Elaine continued “Hashum has improved so much at sport and also in college. He is more confident and independent now.”
It’s clear that a trusted community network can help the very best of friendships grow and our club is just the place for Elaine and Hashum.