Cookstown club for Superstars with special needs celebrates 10 years

John, club founder May and Pat enjoying a Superstars Club dinner

John, club founder May and Pat enjoying a Superstars Club dinner

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A ground-breaking Cookstown charity that gives people with learning difficulties the “life opportunities” many take for granted, is turning 10.

Superstars Club, which now runs a Cookstown cafe alongside its numerous clubs, was first established in 2005 to give those with special needs a safe place to get together.

Founder May McAvoy, spoke to the Mail about why she started the club, and her plans for its future.

“I have a son who has Down’s syndrome and when he was in his mid-teens we realised there’s so little out there for young people with learning difficulties - because they’re so vulnerable.

“Special children just had to go and try and survive with the other ones - which is very difficult.

“As a caring parent I didn’t even want to leave my 16-year-old son - I couldn’t send him to a youth club with other 16-year-old boys.”

With that in mind, May said: “Superstars started as clubs 10 years ago.

“We have five clubs a week, three are actually held in our premises - one of them is a 10-pin bowling club up at the leisure centre, one of them is our theatre group which is every night in the Burnavon.

“Our monthly registration has grown from an average of 30 a month in 2005 - now in 2015 it’s an average of 330 a month.”

But as well as the club, Superstars also runs a cafe which May said “will be two in April”.

“The idea with the cafe is that young people with learning difficulties can come in here and they’re very safe, [and] will get training.”

And the hope is that this will lead to future employment for Superstars trainees.