Campaigning to stay up late with Campaign 4 Change

Daniel and Darren meet Campaign 4 Change in Surrey

As we work to build up a network of campaigners  around the country we’re busy talking to various groups to hear directly from people with learning disabilities about what they would like to be involved in and what they think Stay Up Late should be campaigning on.

This week Daniel (one of our Trustees and a Stay Up Late Ambassador) and Darren (Stay Up Late’s Campaign Co-ordinator) visited Campaign 4 Change at one of their regular meetings at CMG’s offices in Leatherhead, Surrey.

Campaign 4 Change have been doing some great work –  including a presentation called Mind Your Language on the importance of inclusive language that they brought to our recent conference, as well as a vital campaign on hate crime. We were also particularly keen to visit them as Fiifi and Leon from Campaign 4 Change have recently become Stay Up Late Ambassadors.

So, following a lively discussion on Stay Up Late’s manifesto and the importance of a good social life, being able to stay up late and being able to make your own decisions the following  came up as particular priorities:

  • Campaigning to make sure staff rotas help people with learning disabilities enjoy late nights out. Some residential homes lock their doors at 10pm and not all residents have a key, they told us. “Staff need to learn to trust us”. Everyone agreed this should be one of the top priorities for Stay Up Late’s campaign work.
  • Film nights – showing the Heavy Load film or C4C’s hate crime film, for example, followed by discussion and questions.
  • Visiting residential homes to talk to staff and management about the Stay Up Late campaign.
  • Lobbying MPs and councils. It was felt this could be important but it is important to be clear about what changes you want from them and what is in their power.
  • Speaking at other organisations’ conferences and doing presentations and workshops – just like Campaign 4 Change did at Stay Up Late’s (un)Ordinary Conference.

We’d like to thank Campaign 4 Change for hosting us and for all of their suggestions. It was a great afternoon in spite of a Southern Rail guard’s best attempts to ruin the journey there. Daniel has a physical disability as well as a learning disability and needs to use the ramp to access the train safely. The guard refused to let Daniel use the ramp saying it was “too dangerous”. After clambering aboard Daniel calmly rang Customer Services to complain and got them to speak to the guard but he still refused and said he didn’t want people “telling him how to do his job”. Daniel gave them all the relevant details and they are pursuing the complaint for him. Rail staff on the rest of the journey to Surrey could not have been more helpful. Daniel will be pursuing this complaint but we did not let one guard’s bad behaviour ruin an important and fun day for us.

You can find out more about CMG and Campaign 4 Change here

by Darren Johnson

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