Friday, 19 April 2024
Friday, 19 April 2024

Birmingham man fulfils life-long goal to see band of his dreams

LIFELONG music lover Gary Pike has always dreamed of seeing reggae-pop group UB40 live in concert. In December, thanks to staff from the national learning disability charity Hft, his lifelong goal was achieved.

Birmingham-born Gary, along with the rest of his family, has always been an avid fan of the ‘Red, Red Wine’ singers. Since moving into Hft’s Shropshire-supported living service in the nineties, the 51-year-old has talked at length about wanting to see the group in person but has never had the opportunity to do so.

That is until December 2022 when the Hft Shropshire and Staffordshire team were finally able to make it happen.

Sharon Kennedy, Assistant Manager of Hft’s Luv2meetU programme, a friendship and relationship service for adults with learning disabilities, shares how this came about.

She said:

“Gary was recently involved in interviewing a candidate for a senior post at Hft. During that interview, Gary mentioned he was still looking to achieve his life-long goal of seeing UB40 live in concert. Our colleagues decided it was high time to help Gary achieve his dream and, soon after, ordered tickets for him to see UB40 at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena.”

Thanks to David Furey, a Support Worker at Hft Shropshire who knows just how much the band means to him, Gary was able to attend the show.

David said:

“With Gary being from Birmingham, the concert had a special meaning for him. To be in his hometown watching his favourite band was fantastic. Gary also bought a UB40 40th anniversary T-shirt as a memento of the evening he enjoyed so much. It was a truly memorable night!”

One month later, Gary is still talking about the concert and hopes to go to UB40’s open-air show at Telford Town Park this summer.

Gary said:

“I love UB40 and seeing them in person was amazing! I hope I get to see them again soon.”

Gary’s experience is just one opportunity provided by Hft’s rapidly evolving ‘on your doorstep’ programme – an innovative model that aims to provide non-building, person-centred support and day opportunities for adults with a learning disability.

This model is currently being piloted in Shropshire, with a team striving to source activities that meet the specific needs, interests and aspirations of those supported by Hft. This is all with a focus on facilitating greater social connection and improved health and well-being.

Sharon concluded:

“As a result of this model, and following the success of the night, David is now exploring other opportunities for Gary to see more live music and experience new things.”

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