Stacey Solomon's Ab Phab project visit blog

X Factor star Stacey Solomon visits the Ab Phab Youth Club in her home town of Dagenham.

I was so happy and excited when BBC Children in Need contacted me and asked if I would like to visit one of the charities that it helps fund, and the fact that the Ab Phab Youth Club was in my own lovely home town of Dagenham, Essex made the visit extra, extra special.

The centre is just round the corner from my mum’s house and when I arrived I was greeted by so many amazing smiles, both from the children and the brilliant staff.

The club runs activities for 11-18 year-olds of all abilities, which allows disabled and non-disabled kids to mix in a fantastically warm and friendly environment. Many of the young people who come to the centre attend specialist schools outside their local area which often means they miss out on after-school and holiday clubs, leaving them feeling isolated and reliant on their family.

The project provides a place where these brilliant kids can meet and socialise with other local youngsters their own age, giving them an opportunity to learn the importance of friendship, team-work and responsibility, while giving them a massive confidence boost.

The kids are encouraged to take part in all the fantastic sports on offer from ping pong, pool, and table hockey,  as well as regular swimming trips – all these activities help boost the stamina and energy levels of the children, as well improving their balance and eye co-ordination. I had a really good laugh Zumba dancing on the Wii with a group of the centres best movers – but I had to take my heels off first though!

As I was shown round I could tell how much the centre means to everyone involved with it, there was real sense of caring and happiness. The work they do with these kids, making them realise their potential and ready to feel part of their community, is so essential. It was great to see that the money given to BBC Children in Need goes to such important local projects.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at Ab Phab for giving me such a warm welcome – all the kids were brilliant and gorgeous, and the staff were really, really lovely.

So please make sure you do your bit for Pudsey this year, just go to the fundraising section on this site to find out all the incredible ways you can get involved.

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