August cover story: Marion is leaving get2gether!

August cover story: Marion is leaving get2gether!

Our current Director Marion Smith is stepping down at the end of August 2021. Here is Marion’s message to all get2gether members:

“So, everyone, it’s finally that time – after 8 years 6 months I am leaving get2gether at the end of August. 

When I took this job in February 2013 there was only funding for 6 months and an idea that adults with disabilities might want to have fun, adult social activities tailored to them. The four founding agencies, Garvald Edinburgh, Elcap, Thistle Foundation and Freespace had been part of setting up what became dates-n-mates Scotland so they wanted to have something similar in Edinburgh and the Lothians and so dates-n-mates Lothian was born. 

My first task was to organise a big party so I got volunteers from those four organisations. There was Dawn from Thistle, Nicola and Katrina from Elcap, James, Kirsteen, John and Martine from Garvald and others. We pooled all of our ideas and contacts and launched with the biggest party at Corn Exchange Edinburgh with over 200 people who danced, laughed and snogged the night away – we were a success!

The next year we changed our name to get2gether, we got the ATIK and we got funding from Scottish Government and we have never looked back. 

From the very beginning we employed adults with disabilities and we always had members involved in deciding the events. The steering group still meets and although faces change we still pool ideas and contacts to get the best monthly programme we can. 

We’ve had two weddings, numerous engagements and more romance than we can count.

We’ve also seen people make life-long friendships who support each other when those dark days come. 

We all encourage and support each other to be more adventurous – some of my more wild side moments have been being up close ( a little too close!) and personal with The Dream Boys at the Atik and a fringe mime show with full frontal nudity in a very small venue. 

I love what get2gether has become – so feisty, brave and strong. I love that people are now not only expecting but demanding authentic adult lives. So much more than a social club. 

But it is time for me to step back. We’ve heard that the Robertson Trust and the Lottery are supporting us for a further two years. With this financial security someone else will take on the dream job and I’m sure you all will continue to grow and thrive.

After this lockdown year where we have seen so many new members joining us online we are hoping to re-launch get2gether with a big party – just like 8 years ago – but this time at our very own ATIK.

I will be there to see you all and say goodbye in person. Please no presents – just your presence. Your best gift to me is one for yourself – live the best, bravest, fun, loving life you can and surround yourself with people who value and love you – you all deserve nothing less. 

See you down the road,

Marion will be missed and we will all value the time we spent together at get2gether. Marion, we wish you all the best on your next adveuntre and we thank you for everything you taught us!

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