Our review of the year 2019

It’s been another incredible year here at Stay Up Late and these are just a few of the highlights – we’re sure we’ve missed something off, if we have do remind us and we’ll add it!

New staff team

We started the year off with a new staff team to develop Gig Buddies, our campaigning work and start our new Quality Team project.

The Quality Team

This was our new project to support Southdown Housing in checking the quality of their support services. This project enabled us to create 4 part-time paid posts for people with learning disabilities.

The (un)Ordinary Conference

Our first go at staging a conference was a huge success and received a lovely review in The Guardian. A lot of people asked us why more conferences weren’t run in this way? Read more and watch the video here.

No Bedtimes campaign launches

Following on from the conference we launched our ‘No Bedtimes’ campaign and with it started creating a network of campaign ambassadors around the country.

Hello Glastonbury!

We were back at Glastonbury with our campaigning tent and whilst we’re used to wet ones we weren’t ready for the hottest Saturday on record. It didn’t stop us having a great time though and there was lots of partying late in to the might.

Office move

We said goodbye to our ‘punk grotto’ in Kemp Town and moved in to the top floor of the old manor house in Portslade Village. Quite a contrast from St James’ Street with horses and squirrels as neighbours and awesome charity shop downstairs.

Website re-launch

We loved our old website but times move on and we needed something that worked better with all these new fangled gadgets everyone uses these days. We love our new website too and are always adding new things to it including our downloadable resources. We hope you find it useful.

Innovations Network

We were excited to be asked to be part of the new Innovations Network (a joint initiative between Think Local Act Personal and the Social Care Institute for Excellence). We were also delighted to be included in their Innovations Directory for our Gig Buddies project.

Media highlights

It’s been another year of some great coverage in the media for us. Our conference was featured in The Guardian with a quote from Andrew, and Victoria was quoted in the Guardian in a piece about healthcare for people with learning disabilities. The Big Issue put us at 25 in their Top 100 Changemakers too.

We were also featured in Vice magazine, the local papers covered our No Bedtimes launch gig, the British Association of Social Workers gave us a front page and two page article, as well as lots of local mentions about Gig Buddies to help us recruit volunteers.

Books and videos

We were thrilled to be chosen to receive any profits from the awesome book ‘Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science’ (a must read it really is!) and also featured in Radical Inclusion by Andrea Moriarty. This adds to the growing number of publications that we’ve been referred to in, something that makes us feel quite proud of our work!

Some of the team also had a go at acting for ‘A Day in the Life’ by Open Future Learning. The video also starred our student social work placement Elsie and that was another highlight for us. The first time we’ve taken a placement like this and it was a fantastic experience. Enjoy the video.


Ambassador highlights

We launched the Ambassador scheme in March and we now have over a dozen Stay Up Late Ambassadors plus a whole band – the Steel Squid Collective supporting our work.

Since the launch Andrew and Daniel spoke at a major legal conference in London run by Leigh Day, and also spoke at the Leicestershire Learning Disability Partnership Conference, Jason spoke at the Spectrum Annual General Meeting in Southampton and Simon spoke at the All Wales People’s First Conference in Cardiff. Fiifi has been running Stay Up Late pool nights in Croydon, Emily and Victoria have written blogs for us and The Steel Squid Collective promoted Stay Up Late on their debut EP.

There’s also a campaign group in Berkshire ‘The Night Owls’ and the Stay Up Late Scotland group.

Our 5 year strategy

We spent a good amount of time writing our new 5 year plan which sets out all the things we want to do. We’ve also worked out how much that is going to cost and have a fundraising plan to go with it. It was a lot of work but we’re pleased we’ve got it done.

Gig Buddies partners day

In November we met with most of our Gig Buddies partners to spend a day of workshopping and discussion to support each other and further develop the work we all do. It’s always a thrill to see all the partners and hear about their work.

Venue Reality Project

This was a strange project for us. We managed to talk Google (the actual Google) in to lending us a camera worth $17,000 to make some Virtual Reality videos to support people with learning disabilities to get more used to the inside of music venues. It was a great project, so much so that Google sent a film crew over to make a documentary about the project. Unfortunately 2 months later Google completely cancelled it’s VR department. That was a highlight and a lowlight – the film will never be seen.

Gig Buddies

We know what you’re thinking, what about Gig Buddies? Well, it’s been another incredible year of developing the project and there’s so much to say that we’ve decided to put it all in a separate story on the Gig Buddies website.


As well as running our own conference we’ve been invited to talk about our work far and wide including some high profile ones such as NCASC in Bournemouth and Inclusion International in Tel Aviv where we staged a impromptu late night social with a group of delegates.

Our Annual General meeting

Jaydog (aka Jason) from our Quality Team hit on a great idea and hosted our AGM in the style of a chat show. It was an inspired idea and the whole evening had that special Stay Up Late mix of serious fun and chaos, and of course dancing!

Training at Nesta

Bringing things right up to date our last public talk of the year was delivering some learning disability awareness training for Nesta in London. It was our first attempt at doing this and it went down a storm. Of course it also involved a fair amount of dancing!

Thank you

Thank you to everyone that we have worked with, it’s been another wild ride of a year and we come out of it feeling that we have made some change in our world for the better. We know things aren’t easy for people living in the social care system but we continue to do what we can to try and change things.

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