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Friday, 18 April 2014

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COSC celebrates its 30th birthday

A club that helps people with physical and mental disabilities celebrated its 30th anniversary this week.

COSC, which has a base at Park Hill in Maryport, aims to give members a break from the day-to-day and offers fun and activities they may not otherwise get the chance to try out.

A celebration event was held at Hundith Hill, Cockermouth, on Tuesday. It was attended by current and former staff, members and volunteers.

Members who have been at COSC for as long as it existed spoke about how it had helped them to build their confidence, make friends and find support.

Member Pauline Grears said she went only to show members how to use a new knitting machine in 1991 but in 2009 she became in need of the service itself.

She added: “I became a member myself and I have found love, laughter joy and happiness there – and a shoulder to cry on when I need it.”

Haydn Lowery, who has belonged to the centre for 18 years, said: “Without COSC I don’t know what my life would be like.”

COSC’s organising committee includes members who have a large say in how the two centres are run.

Two of the longest serving committee members, Bob Christian and Tom Jones, gave a history of the organisation.

The Park Hill Poets from Allerdale COSC, led by Judy Rochester, praised the charity through poetry with apologies to Wordsworth’s Daffodils.

COSC – or Copeland Occupational and Social Centre – was started by a Whitehaven group of medical staff, clergy and others to provide a place where people with physical disabilities could go where they would be made to feel worthwhile.

After several moves the group found a permanent home in the Bunker, under the council offices in Cleator Moor.

The group was so successful that social services asked for it to be extended into the Allerdale district, and in 2001 a new centre was opened at Moorclose, Workington.

In 2002 Jim Cunningham, father-in-law of COSC manager Alan Hunter, bought Park Hill, a large building at the Ghyll, Netherton, Maryport.

Allerdale COSC moved to Maryport to the building that gave them room to expand the range of services they were able to offer. COSC has now bought the building from Mr Cunningham.

Mr Hunter said that one of the COSC strengths was that it was not an organisation or a charity, but it was family.

He thanked those who had contributed to its success including staff, volunteers, trainees and the members themselves.

He also paid special tribute to Brenda Barry, COSC’s assistant manager who retired this week after being with the organisation since its foundation.

Have your say

I joined COSC at Maryport 4 years ago, and although at first I was a bit apprehensive iv'e never looked back. I'd stopped believing in myself before this, but now I only have to see the smiley faces when I attend to know I'm very much loved and part of one big happy family. I enjoy the poetry group very much as it allows me to express myself, and on a Tuesday I love taking part in photography one week and media studies the next as photography is another way of expressing myself, and media studies gets us discussing the latest news,and have our voices heard. Let me finish by wishing Brenda Barry every success in her retirement, but her next journey on life's pathway leads her to where she wants to be, and good luck to her successor Linda,she has a tough act to follow.

Posted by Susan Stephens on 17 March 2013 at 03:01

I've been a member for 7 years, after I had a stroke, they have given me back my confidence and lots of laughs along the way thank you to all the staff.

We wish Brenda a long and happy retirement. Sue & Martin

Posted by sue berry on 16 March 2013 at 19:28

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