A look back at 2022
It’s been another great year for the charity and here we’ve looked back at some of the highlights, and having a nagging suspicion we’ve probably missed something as there were almost too many highlights to mention as we celebrated seeing each other after lockdown.
It’s very much been a year about community and connection.
Gig Buddies Podcast
The Stay UP Late/Gig Buddies Lockdown Podcast continued through 2021 and into 2022 and included a range of themes.
- Jaydog’s on coming out of lockdown and the work of the Quality Team.
- Daniel on talking at conferences and lack the lack of a good buffet on Zoom!
- Using the podcast as a way to teach people with learning disabilities some new skills. Stuart and Victoria got together to produce the first of our new ‘Stay Up Late Presents……’ podcasts with a special focussing on peoples experience of attending the Glastonbury festival.
Listen to our podcasts here: https://soundcloud.com/stayuplateuk
Sports R Us and our Kindness Charter
Our advisory groups are a vital way of making sure that everything we do is guided by the people we work with. Sports R Us was the new group for our Sports Buddies project.
One of the first things they did was come up with our ‘Kindness Charter’ – to make sure everyone at Stay Up Late acts in a kind way to everyone.
Return to Brighton Pride
The Wild Rainbows led us in marching in the Brighton Pride parade, the first time in two years and what a truly amazing day it was.
The Wild Rainbows group worked with Photosymbols to create more images for their photo library showing LGBTQ+ people. This will help lots of organisations and local authorities to make their easier-to-read documents more representative of more diverse people.
We were back at the greatest show on earth and between being wowed by Sir Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Little Simz and Billie Eilish our team of people with learning disabilities were busy chatting with loads of festival goers about our work and signing up new volunteers. There were definitely #NoBedtimes!
And we met Dev from IDLES too!
Record numbers at cricket social
Aroop Tanna, Manager for Disability Cricket (Sussex Cricket Club) and his team kindly hosted an Active Social of fun inclusive cricket at Preston Park for us in June. 24 buddies attended including people waiting for a buddy. It was loads of fun!
BBC One Show
Zi and Sash were featured on the BBC One Show telling the story of their first gig together as buddys and Zi’s first ever gig. Zi then went on to go to Glastonbury so quite a year of gigging for him!
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
We were thrilled to be recognised by the late Queen for the work of all our volunteers in supporting people with learning disabilities to lead great lives, our buddies, trustees and everyone who means we can make great things happen.
Point of Light Award
Paul got recognised by Boris Johnson, who was the Prime Minister at the time, for a Points of Light Award, given to people who are helping to make positive change in their communities. It’s wonderful our work got recognised by the government.
New staff members – goodbye to Darren and hello to Sharon, Sophie, Florence and Luke
It’s been a time of change on our staff team and we’ve had to say goodbye to Darren, our Campaigns Coordinator of 3 ½ years and hello to Sharon and Sophie.
Ambassadors – grows to over 40 people
After lockdown ended we decided to keep the Ambassadors Zoom meetings going and now we have over 40 members on our national campaigns group.
They are working to support more people with learning disabilities to become activists and make change happen where they live.
Gig Buddies Partners day
We had an incredible day in Bristol with many of the Gig Buddies partner. We’d not seen each other in person for 3 years (except for on our regular Zooms of course!) and what a great day of exchanging ideas and supporting each other it really was.
The Hub @ Hove Methodist Church
We’ve really settled into our new home at Hove Methodist Church and it’s been wonderful to see the natural connections that have happened between the other charities and groups working in the building.
Sometimes it feels like party central and if we need some quiet there’s always homeworking – and we’re all used to that nowadays!
Quality Team re-starting
The Quality Team got back together and delivered their first visit in two years. They’ve now got more planned and getting back in to the swing of things.
The Cupani Open Garden
Our friends Aideen and Denis opened their beautiful garden again to help raise funds for us and other charities. Through a combination of plant sales, entry tickets, cake and lunches (and just the best cakes too!). They raised a whopping £5,270.
We had so much fun making this video last year we just had to share it with you again.
This was a wonderful opportunity for buddies who have never seen this type of performance before to get comfortable and familiar with the venue
We had a wonderful time working with Glyndebourne Opera to make their performances more accessible to more people:
– At the September Open Garden we visited the auditorium, saw backstage, explored the grounds and familiarised ourselves with the venue
– At the December Christmas relaxed performance we will see the Glynde performers in action doing a festive matinee medley of opera and classical music
We’ve loved working with local charity Extratime to support them to get young people more involved in the running of their projects and the charity. This has involved:
– workshops with young people to increase their participation in the running of their youth club
– designing their ideal youth worker, designing their dream night out, creating content on online safety for other youth groups
– setting up a young people’s council (a group of young people who will gather ideas from their peers and feed these back to Extratime management to inform planning, recruitment and development)
Amex stadium visit for Sports Buddies
We were lucky enough to be offered free hospitality tickets for some of our Sports Buddies to watch Brighton vs Southampton at the AMEX stadium in April. It was a great match with lots of delicious food and drink too!
We’ve been able to get back out and about running training sessions in person and ran a session for our friends at Grace Eyre on creating opportunities for participation.
We also ran our first in-person session for Clinical Psychology students at Oxford University.
Daniel said “it’s much better than Zoom as you get to stand behind a podium.”
“The training session was the highlight of the year” Clinical Psychology student
60 new Volunteer buddies trained!
We ran 12 training session and matched 35 people with a new buddy.
4560 Hours of volunteering
– that’s an awful lot of late nights!
A massive thanks to all our volunteers in supporting people with learning disabilities to lead great social lives.
We welcomed new trustees to our board and they’re helping us to develop our new 3 year strategy to develop our work for more people. It’s been so lovely too to meet with the board in person.
Carousel tour with Gig Buddies/Stay Up Late
We teamed up with Carousel this autumn for an exciting six-date nationwide tour, visiting locations where Gig Buddies partner projects are based. The tour marks an enthusiastic return to live events for Carousel’s roster of musicians, and we were staying up late at Brighton’s very own Green Door Store in November.