Stay Up Late’s Annual Review of 2017 Advent Calendar

This year we’ve decided to release a bit-sized version of our annual review as an advent calendar of posts.

We hope you enjoy looking back over the past year, we did as we had a great one, and thank you to everyone who helped with that.

1 – Our Open Office

We moved in to our new office and today we’re holding an open-office fundraiser which is part of the The Big Give matched funding initiative. For this week and this week only any donations given get doubled. 

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

2 – Glastonbury Festival 

Today we bring you our non-stop dancing party starter Maria dancing her way to the next stage at this years Glastonbury Festival – we stayed up late until 5am dancing in the silent disco!  

3 – The Big Red Button

We wanted to make it easier for participants and volunteers to let us know if there were any problems. So we introduced the ‘Big Red Button’ on our website. We would much rather that buddies flag up any problems they may be having at an early stage so we can hopefully help sort things out and support any difficulties.

We also updated our Complaints Policies and Procedures too which are both in a easier to read format.

and also Kate, Harri and Victoria from our Gig Buddies team take a look back at their highlights of 2017

4 – We said goodbye to Madeline and hello to Harri

We thanked Madeline for all her hard work in being part of Gig Buddies and her part in helping to get the project to where it is today. But we also said hello to Harri, our new project assistant, and made this film to find out more about her. We decided to pitch her against the awesome ping pong skills of Harry Fairchild. The rules were simple, whoever wins the next point gets to ask the next question. Guess who got to ask most of the questions!

5 – Meet the Wild Rainbows

Our Gig Buddies participants who identify as #LGBTQ+ said it would be good to have a separate advisory group to talk about things from their perspective. We thought that was a fantastic idea and so The Wild Rainbows group was born.

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

They meet every month and are helping us to make sure our work meets the needs of people who identify as LGBTQ+ and also have a learning disability and/or autism.

6 – New board members

We said hello to our new trustees, Chris, Berhana and Rami. We’re looking forward to having them work with us and help us develop our work. Next board meeting is Friday which is exciting and we’ll be thinking about other areas where we could do with support from other trustees with particular skills and experience.

7 – Making everything easier to read

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

At our development day last year we made a promise to turn as much as we can in to an easier read format, all our policies, minutes, reports, leaflets and other materials. It’s been a big job, and we’re not quite there yet but we don’t see why we need to have two versions of everything. So everything will be in easier read formats. (Except four our official annual report and accounts – and that’s out of our hands!). Thanks to @Photosymbols for being our ‘go to’ place for pictures.

8 – Every Sort of People Festival 

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Another festival we had a great time at was the awesome Every Sort Of People at Lewes Football Club’s ground organised by Culture Shift – it was a beautiful day with the most amazing sense of community, fun and inclusion. The music was great too and even the weather was fantastic!

9 – 95 pairs of Gig Buddies in Sussex!

We have now managed to match up 95 pairs of buddies who are all regularly going out to mainstream gigs and events together across Sussex.  

Here’s a blog from the Huffington Post by Christian & Jo which is just lovely, as they reflect on their relationship as buddies and how it’s blossomed in to a real friendship.

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

and there was also more national press coverage for us when Harri was interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World Today’ programme when they joined the Gig Buddies on a social meet-up at the Printers Playhouse in Eastbourne.

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

10 – Practicing what we preach

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

A lot of club nights for adults with learning disabilities seem to be over by 9pm. But people with learning disabilities have been telling us for over a decade that they should have every right to go out late, and feel safe while they’re doing it. So we decided to start our Clubbing Social at 9pm and finished at 5am.

‘Inclusive’ clubnights are a good thing but we think people with learning disabilities should be able to go to regular club nights too. (And thank you to the English Disco Lovers for making us so welcome and helping us raise funds).

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Harri and Dan also reviewed Nick Mulvey’s great gig at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill for The Stinger Magazine. Read what they thought of the show here.

And here’s an article in The Stinger about Gig Buddies.

11 – Goodbye to Simon

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

We said goodbye to our dear friend Simon, Heavy Load’s charismatic frontman. His punk spirit lives on in the way we run the charity and you’ll regularly hear the team shout ‘BOLLOCKS’ in his memory. Here’s a tribute we wrote about him, a truly remarkable, funny, inspiring and lovely man.

12 – New Heavy Load musicStay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Shortly before Simon died the band recorded some new tunes, and we must say they do sound fantastic. It was the first time the band had played together in 5 years and all the energy and humour was still there.

We’ll be releasing them as a limited edition 7inch single in the New Year and you can pre-order theme here (along with a gorgeous poster too).

13 – The Stay Up late Campaign

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Our campaigning work grew with conferences and workshops around country looking at the issue of #NoBedTimes. Our Annual General Meeting looked at what to do about this too and we’ll be talking about what’s next in the new year.

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

We also were thrilled to be part of the launch of the Gr8 Support Movement and we’re very much looking forward to the full UK launch of this in the new year too. 

We’re especially excited because we hear a lot that support staff feel de-valued in their work and the Gr8 Support Movement will aim to enable a sharing of good practice and create a network of peer support amongst support workers.

14 – Our Annual Report

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Here’s our official Annual Report and Accounts which we’ve filed with the Charity Commission. Here’s our Company Secretary, and Trustee, Julia with our chair Neil and trustees Dan and Simon checking it’s all ok. 

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

And a big thank you to our funders for supporting our work in enabling people with learning disabilities to lead great lives. These are difficult times in terms of the challenges that social care faces, and also difficult times in finding funding so thank you all for your support. We literally couldn’t do anything without you. 

15 – Gig Buddies in a Box

We finished writing the manual for running your own Gig Buddies projects and shared this with our first group of new partners – and there will be more new partners in 2018 bringing Gig Buddies to more parts of the UK.

Find out more about joining us and how you can start a Gig Buddies project in your area here at Gig Buddies In A Box

16 – TEDx Brighton

Paul was asked to speak at @TEDxBrighton in front of 1300 people at the Brighton Dome. Here’s the video

17 – Stay Up Late ScotlandStay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Exciting news north of the border – they’re starting their own campaigning group. We’re really looking forward to supporting this and watching it develop. Find out more here at their Facebook Group

18 – Gig Buddies new partners

We said hello to our new Gig Buddies partners running their own versions of the project in Croydon, Portsmouth and Calderdale and the projects in Edinburgh and Sydney go from strength to strength. Find out more about joining us as a partner in running Gig Buddies in your area here:

19 – Plans for next year

There’s a couple of new things we’ve got in the pipeline. A new blog site around community ‘Punks in the Community’ and a new national group ‘The Coalition of Chaos’. We’re also hoping to recruit a new team member.

20 – Thoughts on staying up lateStay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

We’ve been busy writing articles for our website about our work, and what we think about the issues facing people with learning disabilities in the UK. Here’s a pick of our favourite posts from the year.

21 – Pride

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

The Wild Rainbows are our advisory group for participants who identify as LGBTQ+ and they were flying the Stay Up Late flag in this year’s Brighton Pride with Binyonce pumping out the disco beats at the front. (And there’s some very exciting news that Binyonce has to announce – we’ll let her do that herself in the new year).

22 – Latitude

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

Thank you to our friends at @attitudetweets to enable a bunch of @gigbuddies participants to work as access stewards at @latitudefest – no rest after work though – just dancing all night.

23 – Disability Pride

Stay Up Late's Annual Review of 2017

We were thrilled to be part of the first ever Disability Pride event in Brighton – it was just a fantastic day @DPrideBrighton

24 – Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas from everyone at Stay Up Late and thank you to everyone who made it such a great year. Looking forward to more late nights in 2018!

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