We proudly present our Stay Up Late Ambassadors

In order to strengthen our campaigning, get our message out around the country and involve more people with learning disabilities in our work, we are delighted to announce a brand new team of Stay Up Late Ambassadors.

Our Ambassadors will work with us in campaigning for people with learning disabilities to be able to live the kind of life they want to live and to make their own decisions about how they spend their time.

We’ll be recruiting more ambassadors in more places around the country but to kick things off we are thrilled to welcome each of these fantastic people.

Leon Clarke – Sutton

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 Dyer – Somerset

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.”

Amber Okpa-Stother – Manchester

Amber work 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. “

Daniel Randall-Nason – Hastings

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!”

Simon Richards – Cardiff

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.“

Emily Shanahan – Cheshire

“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.“

Fiifi Tetteh – Croydon

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.“

Andrew Walker – Worthing

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.”

The Steel Squid Collective – Somerset

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 will be promoting the No Bedtimes message at gigs and events!

If you are interested in becoming a Stay Up Late Ambassador or getting involved in our campaigns contact darren@stayuplate.org

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