Grassroots charity promoting the right for people with learning disabilities to have a choice about how they live their lives

No Bedtimes – A DJ’s perspective of clubbers being told what time to leave

23
Oct
2017

I first met Chris probably 20 years ago when he was DJing at one of Carousel's Blue Camel Club nights in Brighton. Chris has since gone on to become an active member of the charity and regularly volunteers in our office, chairs our Storm and Thunder Team meetings, and continue to use his awesome DJing at all sorts of events.

A little while back Chris was talking about an incident at a Heart Venture club night where people were being told to leave at 9pm. Chris was DJing and was frustrated at what he saw. The irony is that the awesome people at Heart Venture put on nights to encourage adults with learning disabilities to make friendships and go on to develop relationships. There's nothing better to kill off a good date then someone nagging you to get off the dance floor and get your coat on is there?

It's also become culturally acceptable to do this and Chris wanted to challenge this way of thinking and get support workers to think about what they're doing by not enabling the people they support to decide when to leave a night out.

Here's Chris blogpost in which he explains how he feels.


No Bedtimes

What happens at gigs?

They come to the venue on the evening of the gig they pay their money for the whole night but they cannot stay all evening due to staff finishing their shift very early when they go off duty. Some people get to enjoy the whole evening but some people have to leave early which makes me feel very disappointed that I cannot share my music with everyone at the gig. Sometimes I have to pack up very early due to everybody leaving the venue and it is not fun to play to an empty floor.

I wish everybody could stay late, enjoy their night and be supported to get home.

I know that people have to go home early to have their medication at a certain time and there staff go off duty.

Would it be possible for the person to have their medication on the night and carry there tablets with them? Why do they have to go home to take their medication? This means they cannot enjoy the night maybe as they would like to.

Some of these gigs are to meet new people or find a partner. How can you do this in one hour?

What can we do about it?

I would like to go and visit some group homes and discuss with them about ways to stay out later.

Chris' video interview

Here's a short video of Chris in action as a DJ and also talking more about the issue


Our thoughts at Stay Up Late

What I love about Chris' article and video is the really straight forward questions and issues that he's identified

  1. How can we say we're supporting peoples' independence if we won't even allow them to decide what time they want to leave a night out at?
  2. Why can't medication be taken to the club?
  3. How on earth can people be expected to develop friendships, and even relationships, with a precious hour of socialising?
  4. How can we talk to staff in group homes and supported living settings about these issues?

We're really grateful to Chris for taking the time to write his article and this will be great food for thought at our Annual General Meeting on 28th Oct where the topic will be #NoBedTimes

  • Nick Radclyffe

    Quite right Chris, there is one regular gig I Love Thunder have done for quite a few years and we’re delighted to have been given the headline spot on a few occasions. However we’re often left playing to an empty hall!
    It’s not as though everyone gets back home and goes straight to sleep is it?

    • Baz Collins

      Absolutely agree this is not person centred, I know how annoyed I would be if I was enjoying something and was told I have to leave. It comes down to good shift planning and also looking at the need. Does the support worker actually need to be there? Could the service be ‘on call’ if something happens? Does the club have volunteers or support staff on hand to help out? Do they have their own key and transport to get back home when they want to come home?
      There are so many ways this can be overcome. It’s about flexibility. For example I was a support worker and I have supported many people to events that often run late. I have willingly stayed and taken it as time off later.

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