Punk AGM write-up

The aim of this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) was to create a more inclusive and accessible way for us to review our work and plan the way ahead. We also wanted to capture as many ideas as possible. You may often hear the word ‘co-production’ used around health and social care – well the aim of our AGM was to create a ‘co-produced’ set of priorities for the charity over the coming year.

agm People attending the AGM were participants in Gig Buddies, members of the Storm and Thunder team, volunteers, carers and of course trustees.

To do this we used an ‘Open Space forum’ format in which everyone was asked to think about the question:

‘How can we have the most impact in the year ahead?’ 

We invited everyone to think about this question in relation to:

  • Growing and developing Gig Buddies
  • Creating and leading a movement for social change

But we also encouraged people to dream and come up with crazy ideas too – sometimes these turn in to the best ones.

Group leaders identified themselves, quickly presented their idea and we spent time working these up in mini-workshops.

The ideas ranged from really practical things we ought to do, through to fun things, things that would change the UK and things that would change the world!

Here’s the ideas that came out:


1) Creating and leading a movement

How can we support organisations who are struggling with issues around Staying Up Late?

The idea was that we make 2 practical commitments for the year, 2 targets that can raise awareness of the campaign.

This could involve:

  • A ‘social media heist’ – producing a flyer which we distribute to groups in London who target a high profile event at the o2, raising the issue with the regular concert going public saying that they’d be looking at leaving at 9pm if they had a learning disability.

Organisations to link up with could be Map Squad and Elfrida and a couple of others that we’re linked to such as Club Soda and Heart n Soul.

We’d also link in a social media ‘Thunderclap’ so as to create a big push through Facebook and Twitter. Then look at doing this in other areas such as Manchester and Edinburgh.

  • Finding really good stories around the country that show positive change, eg, a commissioner changing rotas, an organisation that has challenged itself and changed cultures or people with learning disabilities saying “sod this” and changing things for themselves. This would develop our ‘Success Stories’ area of our website and feed in to the other ideas we’re currently working on around developing the campaigning side of our work. 

Idea – could we create a “Sod This” award for direct action? A person with a learning disability, or support worker, who’s said “enough’s enough and made some positive change.

Stay Up Late would support all this and act as ‘the broker’, tracking stories and using our online/offline networks to share inspiring stories and build a movement for change.


We could create a ‘beacon map’ of the UK with beacons showing where good things are happening, and places where good things are about to happen.

We could create nationwide ‘story champions’ activists who help us search out positive stories.

The overall aim would be getting the issue on the agenda with a high profile culture shift.

2) A Creepy Christmas

The idea was to do something fun for all the Gig Buddies and run a ‘creepy Christmas’ workshop where we can pull the heads off toy animals and use glue guns to stick them on to other toys bodies. (Like what our friends at Exploring Senses do with their toy hacking workshops).

To make this a late night event it was suggested we could do it ‘in the park, in the dark’ but as glue guns are involved it was decided Max’s office may be more suitable!

Also we could do pumpkin carving with Christmas hats on and loud music to give it a party atmosphere.

Dan and Max

3) Dating night

The idea is a blind date style event where men sit behind a wall and a woman with a blind fold gets to kiss them all. This would all be part of Stay Up Late trying to find ways for people with learning disabilities to go on dates and develop relationships.

A night like this would need to be really inclusive and so open to people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender.

Ideas for the name of the night were:

  • Up down, giggle giggle
  • Bubble and squeak, eeor, eeor
  • Sexy ladies night – although as there are also lots of sexy men that we work with we might need to rethink this!

4) Developing our fundraising plan

There’s a clear need for us to now develop our fundraising strategy to continue the work we’ve started and to ensure we work in those areas that we really want to focus on.

A lot of the ideas we generate need to be funded so a simple priority is to further develop the business plan to inform our fundraising strategy. We need to continue to create a diversity of fundraising streams and develop short, medium and long-term goals around this. 

Action – Tina and Tony have offered to lead on this piece of work and will discuss at next Trustees meeting in Dec ’14.


5) Walk The Walk

We need to be working towards putting people with learning disabilities in leadership roles in the charity. Now that the charity is 3 years old and set up and running it’s time to ‘Walk the Walk’.

We’ve already started this work through Storm and Thunder Team members attending trustees meetings so the next steps should be:

  • Get new trustees with learning disabilities on the board
  • Making the meetings as accessible as possible and improving communication in the charity.
  • People with learning disabilities sharing their stories and experiences of Staying Up Late, or not!
  • Linking with the Storm and Thunder team and having small group meetings looking at examples of other organisations like Speak Out, People First and Change and also linking in with the Learning Disability Alliance.
  • Linking the work of the trustees back in to the work of the charity leading a movement and leading by example.

Action – This to be discussed at next Trustees meeting in Dec ‘14

6) What makes Gig Buddies special?

If we want to share the Gig Buddies model we want to make sure we preserve the essence of it ensuring that other organisations running Gig Buddies are supported to run things in the way we believe they should be done.

So what makes Gig Buddies special? Suggestions were:

  • It’s about youth culture
  • Buddies are given training – this could extend to e-learning and creating a code of conduct? Plus providing on-going support and training to help develop buddies
  • Going out is an ordinary thing
  • It’s mainstream (it’s not about creating events for people with learning disabilities)
  • It’s about choice
  • Every gig is unique
  • It’s free.
  • It’s about friendships and facilitating relationships.
  • Could we incorporate elements of quality checking – a tool for buddies to assess the quality of a local scheme (*great idea!)
  • It’s voluntary
  • It’s simple – but well thought out
  • There’s well defined roles
  • It’s engaging and self-propelling
  • It’s about making ALL events inclusive
  • It’s social and visible in the community but also should have a well developed online element
  • It’s based on shared interests
  • Should it be limited by size? – E.G. no more than 150 people per co-ordinator/worker – means we’d need to be clear about size of support team required
  • We have dedicated staff who manage the project very well

7) Sports buddies

How can we open Gig Buddies up to wider interests? It turns out that Sam’s buddy is quite interested in just hanging out, watching football and playing table tennis.

  • Could we have regular meet-ups to go and see Lewes FC home games?
  • Table tennis meet-ups using the seafront tables
  • Could we create a forum, or use Facebook, to create regular opportunities for meet-ups – more informal ones?
  • Other things could be rugby, laser quest, bowling and wrestling
  • Could we contact football teams that Gig Buddies are supporters of? Or the FA? Arsenal? Liverpool? Maybe even Brighton and Hove Albion? (We’ve tried Brighton and Hove Albion FC a nuber of occasions in the past but they’ve not shown an interest so far).

One suggestion was taking the idea to Crystal Palace if Brighton and Hove Albion don’t show any interest but this was felt to be a move that could cause considerable controversy in the city. (Not always a bad thing!)

8) Gig Buddies world tour

The idea is that bands tour the world so should Gig Buddies. Using ‘Gig Buddies in a box’ as a model. The ideas is:

  • Stay Up Late links up with a band or artist doing a tour
  • There’s a 12 to 18 month lead in to the tour meaning an opportunity for us to do preparation in a certain location
  • Stay Up Late then work with the people/organisation in that town/city which is on the tour – using the big artists gig as the launch pad for an on-going Gig Buddies scheme in that location

Issues to think through:

  • It gives publicity to the record companies and artists and could generate funding and deliver an impact on a big scale
  • BUT – who? They would have to fit with our values, we need to keep our principles (tax avoiding acts like U2, Gary Barlow and Artic Monkeys could tarnish our work and reputation).
  • The details of the project would need to be crystal clear – can we trademark Gig Buddies and protect our intellectual property?

How do we know what the situation is like around the world?

Are there places that are doing a good job around inclusion and would be a good place to start?

  • We have links in some places – US and Australia to try
  • We have some links to people/bands who would be big enough. We need to make sure we are clear about what we are asking for from them to try and take these things to the next step. In other words – What is our ‘ask’ to the music business?
  • We need to find out what we can ask for
  • Celebrity endorsement – how do you build awareness without celebrity backing? How do you get that first superstar to get the snowball rolling?
  • Maybe we should just ask for money – pure and simple!
  • Ultimately it’s about an ambitious plan for developing Gig Buddies around the world!

The ideas test

Paul explained that the risk of doing an ‘Open Space’ AGM is that we come up with loads of great ideas but simply don’t have the resources to act on all of them. So to decide which ideas we can take forward we’ll apply our ‘ideas test’ to each.

  • How much does it cost? – will we need to do some fundraising to make it happen?
  • Is it practical? – is it going to be easy for us to make it happen?
  • Is it fun? – a lot of what we do is about making a real difference and raising awareness about serious issues in a fun way. Do our ideas fit with this?
  • Does it have impact? – We want to make sure that our work reaches as many people as possible and makes a real difference. For example – we could spend a lot of time planning a club night attended by 50 people, while it could be great it may have been better for us to spend our time and resources elsewhere.
  • Is it sustainable? How can the idea grow and continue?
  • Are we the right people to do it? – some ideas may be great and a totally worthwhile thing to do but we may not be the best skilled people at doing it.
  • Do people with learning disabilities want it? Are we involving people with learning disabilities and checking that we really need to be doing something?
  • Does it fit our purpose as a charity? We have to make sure that whatever we do fits with our legal responsibility as a charity – which is essentially promoting active social lives for people with learning disabilities.

Next steps

We will be talking about all these ideas at our next trustees meeting and picking up on a couple of the actions immediately, and inviting members of the Storm and Thunder Team to be present at this.

We’d like you to tell us what you think too so do send in your comments.

We hope that we will be able to start developing some of these ideas soon, others may take some time – but we’ll be reporting on our progress through the website and Tweeting updates, and sharing on Facebook.

Thanks again to everyone who came and shared in our ‘Punk AGM’ – it was a wonderfully chaotic and inspiring event with loads of great ideas coming out. Just who’s idea was it to hold it at 10am on a Sunday morning?

See the Easier To Read notes here…

And down load the Easier To Read notes here







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