Earlier this year we began setting up a new network of Stay Up Late Ambassadors to assist our campaigning. These are people with a learning disability and/or autism who are committed to helping us get the message out about the work of Stay Up Late. Meet some of our Ambassadors below.
Let us know if you would like to be an Ambassador for Stay Up Late. There’s more information about getting involved here
If you would like to become an Ambassador or get involved in our campaigning work in any way please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Leon Clarke is a member of Campaign 4 Change – a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities and autism. He is passionate about music, especially Reggae, spreads joy, has a great sense of humour and loves travelling on public transport. Leon loves to go out partying and dancing in the evenings, and he believes that every person has the right to do so if they wish to.
Phillip is 42. He met Alison at a day service we both attended. They became a couple and wanted to marry but no-one really took them seriously. It was only with a change in support staff that things started to happen and they got married in 2014. Phillip says, “Too many people feel they need a carer’s approval before anything can happen. I believe it is up to the two people involved to decide what they want to do and they shouldn’t have to push for what is a normal thing for many other people.”After giving a moving speech at our (un)Ordinary conference in March, Phillip agreed to become an Ambassador for us. He’s been busy giving out flyers and stickers over in Somerset where he lives and recently gave a talk to students at Richard Huish College.
“I learnt about the #NoBedtimes campaign and I hope I can take it back to my local groups in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. I have a habit of staying up late. I love going out with friends attending All Wales People First conferences and as well as volunteering with All Wales I have a paid part time job in a restaurant in my local area and work evenings. I like a couple of hours to relax and unwind after work the same as anybody else and love concerts, discos etc.”
Amber works for Venture Arts in Manchester as a Public Engagement Assistant. Her role is to be an advocate for people with disabilities and work at events and on reception. Amber says, “It’s important that every person with a learning disability has the right to have a well-paid job and be treated like other people without a disability. People with disabilities have great skills that can be beneficial for a job that other people may not have. I have developed my skills in public speaking and it’s made me a bit more independent because I have my own money.”
Jason works for Stay Up Late as part of the Quality Checking team and is also an Ambassador. Jason took part in a series of rap and poetry workshops putting some of Stay Up Late’s manifesto into rhyme in a way that was both entertaining and thought-provoking. He was also one of a team of people from Stay Up Late who visited Glastonbury this year, manning Stay Up Late’s information marquee throughout each day of the festival.
Daniel is one of the trustees at Stay Up Late and part of the Storm and Thunder Team – that’s a group of us who have a learning disability and we are the advisory group for Stay Up Late. Daniel says, “When we go out to gigs we want to stay for the whole thing not leave when the carer says it’s time to go. Being with Stay Up Late has been really good for me. I’ve been to gigs, I’ve been to festivals, I’ve been to conferences and I’ve run a puppet show – all for the cause of Staying Up Late and no bedtimes!” As well as dishing out flyers around shops and cafes in Hastings where he lives, Daniel has been busy giving a number of talks about the work of Stay Up Late, including organisations such as Campaign 4 Change and Seeability as well as being one of the main speakers at Leigh Day’s ‘A Fair Hearing’ conference in London. Daniel has been reporting back via a number of illuminating blogs he’s written for us.
Simon is 36 and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is chairperson and a member of Cardiff People First, a self-advocacy charity for people with learning disabilities. Simon says, “In the past 10 years I have gone from a person who mostly stayed in, in the evenings, to a person who is often out and about, either at a karaoke or open mic night or at the Odyssey (drama group) rehearsing for our next show. I have been in a supported living house for about four years and proud of the fact I can travel independently and safely to venues.“
“I have Autism, Elhers Danlos syndrome and dyspraxia and I am also a part time wheelchair user. Before I received support, I used to be lonely and didn’t have many friends. But now I have support I have made new friends. Since I started receiving support, I’m a rainbow leader, I’m part of a cheerleading team I attend a weekly disco where I have been able to make new friends and gained the confidence to speak to new people on my own and go up dancing. Having support has just given me more confidence in general which has had a positive impact on my whole life.“
Victoria works for Stay Up Late as Gig Buddies Assistant as well as being an Ambassador. Victoria wrote a very well-received blog about how so few people with learning disabilities are given the opportunity to have a paid job and what can be done to improve things. She was also part of a small group from Stay Up Late who took part in a workshop discussion hosted by Heart n Soul for a major research project on attitudes to people with learning disabilities. Known in the Stay Up Late office as the Queen of Quotes, she offers pearls of wisdom on many aspects of life. She was quoted in the Guardian newspaper in an article on specialist healthcare support for people with learning disabilities.
Fiifi is part of Campaign 4 Change. He likes going out, talking to people, going to football, visiting his family and going to church. Fiifi says, “Two years ago my mum died, but I had not visited her grave. My support workers supported me to go to my mum’s grave for the first time – we tidied up the grave and I had a chance to speak to my mum. I then phoned my dad who I did not see much of at that point and we met up and spoke about my mum. Me and my dad have become very close and we meet up and talk much more often.“ Fiifi recently set up a pool night to promote the work of Stay of Late and raise some money for the charity, over in Croydon. They had the most amazing success with a pool knockout competition held on Saturday 13th July. Fiifi organised the event to bring local support services together and to those living with relatives to join in and share some fun. Frames Sports bar kindly gave a year’s free membership to those that won together with trophies.
Andrew works for Stay Up Late as part of the Quality Team which looks at ho well supported housing and residential care homes are meeting people’s needs. Andrew says, “I am passionate about Stay Up Late because it reaches out to so many people with learning disabilities to let them know that it’s their life and they should be able to access anything they want to. Being with Stay Up Late has given me so many opportunities, from going to gigs to visiting Australia.” Andrew recently gave a talk at a meeting of the learning disabilities group hosted by Oxleas NHS Trust in Woolwich and, along with Daniel, was one of the speakers at Leigh Day’s ‘A Fair Hearing Conference’. Other speakers at the conference included Sir Norman Lamb MP, who praised the work of Stay Up Late. Andrew was also quoted in the Guardian newspaper in an article on our (un)Ordinary conference.
The Steel Squid Collective are a band of young and talented musicians who all have learning disabilities. The band have been playing together for over a year and are very soon to be releasing their first EP -” Vol 1. Just Getting Started!” The band have played a number of gigs in front of sizeable audiences, rocking venues such as Weston College, Tickenham Community Hall, People First events and outdoor festivals in Yatton and Bristol. The whole band have become Stay Up Late Ambassadors and are spreading the word about Stay Up Late at their gigs and we get a special mention on their EP.
If you are interested in becoming a Stay Up Late Ambassador or getting involved in our campaigns contact email@example.com