Stuart Devlin: ‘My disability is mistaken for drunkeness’

Published: April 13, 2019

 

Stuart on night out with friends

Stuart Devlin (person we work for and dates-n-mates member) features in a short video from the BBC about disability discrimination at night venues. This video also contains some scenes from a recent Club LATE night.

Stuart has been turned away from venues with door staff saying he is too drunk to get in, even though he has not yet had an alcoholic drink.

Stuart simply wants to say “You may think I appear drunk, though this is because I have conditions called Cerebral Palsy & Dyspraxia” though feels he is not understood or simply does not get the chance to say it.

Stuart almost lost the confidence to go on nights out due to a number of experiences like this.

It is another reason why there is a demand for Club LATE and more ‘inclusive clubbing’ nights.

We need and ask for more disability awareness training for staff at night venues to avoid people with disabilities being stigmatised or rejected in this way.

“This is so important. My friend who is a doorman had this experience with someone who had cerebral palsy, and almost turned him away. It’s just too easy, under those circumstances, to assume the reason is drunkenness. Awareness campaigns like this one are a great idea.” Comment on video via BBC facebook page


Click here to view video via BBC news


Organisations such as the ‘Stay Up Late’ campaign fight for disabled people’s right to have a good night out like everyone else. You can find out more by visiting their website: stayuplate.org or facebook group: facebook.com/groups/StayUpLateUK

There is also a Stay Up Late Scotland campaign. Visit their facebook page:
facebook.com/Stay-Up-Late-Scotland

Find out more about monthly Glasgow inclusive club night LATE:
facebook.com/clublateglasgow

 

The evolution of Club LATE

Published: April 5, 2019

  7 years of #InclusiveClubbing

LATE – Scotland’s first fully inclusive club night, launched on Tuesday 10th of April 2012 at The Arches in Glasgow. The night was an instant success with over 200 people attending. It was clear that there was a demand for inclusive clubbing (#InclusiveClubbing).

LATE was launched by C-Change Scotland and has since continued to be run by the organisations dating and friendship agency project dates-n-mates.

The idea of LATE was to hold a genuinely inclusive club night promoted to people with learning disabilities though open to all.

For four hours on the 10th of April 2012, the divide between ‘abled’ and ‘disabled’ was all but gone, as people with and without disabilities danced, drank and simply enjoyed themselves and the company of each other. The only difference from a regular club night was a big presence of staff and volunteers to make sure everyone was safe and to encourage people on their own to meet others and feel included.

DJ’s playing on the night were with and without a learning disability. Possibly no one noticed, and that was fine.

LATE was perhaps another milestone in Scotland showing a fundamental shift in how our society views people with learning disabilities. It was now a decade after the closure of large institutions such as Lennox Castle Hospital where males and females were purposely segregated. Where for some time a night out for people with a learning disability meant a few cans of cola for a few hours in a brightly lit hall and some cheesy tunes. Where constant and often over the top ‘risk assessments’ on individuals meant a normal life was not really an option.

Over the next 5 years dates-n-mates went on to hold a further 15 Club LATE nights. Though the venue changed a number of times after the closure of The Arches, the night continued successfully.

In 2018 dates-n-mates went into partnership with Include Me 2 Club to launch a monthly club LATE. This took place on Thursday 19th of April 2018 – almost exactly 6 years on from the launch of the night.

The launch of the first monthly night at G2 (Part of The Garage) in Glasgow was highly successful! The energy was great – It just felt right.

dates-n-mates members had been calling for a more regular night for some time and it was time to answer that call.

This has opened club LATE up to many more people who can now benefit from this inclusive clubbing experience. We hope many more relationships (friendships, romances and love) will be formed as a result and people will have more confidence to try other night time activities on offer in the wider world. Evidence shows that opportunities to build friendships and relationships can significantly improve quality of life and independence for all who are able to enjoy a typical night out.

Capital FM DJ Garry Spence helped us launch the night almost 7 years ago and continues to support LATE with a regular slot. Garry told us:

“I’ve been playing for LATE since the very start and I’ve loved it since that first night. I can’t overstate the impact this has on the lives of people who’d otherwise be excluded from night venues in Scotland. It’s always a brilliant turn out, always a feel-good event and allows access to clubs for everyone regardless of their ability or mobility.”

Keep up to date with all things LATE by following the Club LATE facebook page:facebook.com/clublateglasgow

Hashtags we like:
#InclusiveClubbing #ClubLATE #StayUpLate

A fond farewell to Aberdeen colleagues

Published: April 3, 2019

 

 

Lisa has been with the C-Change Aberdeen for over a year now and has been absolutely fantastic asset to all teams (top left in picture). Her work colleagues and the people we work for will miss her. We all wish her the very best of luck in her next adventure.

James would also like to say a huge thank you to his Personal Development Worker, Margaret. Margaret left the organisation at the end of February 2019 after supporting James for a year and a half. Margaret has been fantastic asset to the team and support for James. She was dedicated to the people we work for and always stayed positive. Margaret loved supporting James at his allotment and together they have made numerous improvements such as putting up a summer house, planting new vegetables and fruit trees.

Autism Awareness Day: Sarah’s Story

Published:

 

Tuesday 2nd of April is Autism Awareness Day.

 

dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director, Sarah, is sharing her personal story of living with Autism and how she has gained independence (see below).

 

Hi, My name is Sarah, I’m 22 years old and I have Autism.

I was diagnosed when I was 3 years old when my grandma who worked with children with additional needs at the time, noticed I was showing signs. My mum and dad saw the health visitor & the doctor referred me for an assessment at the Raeden Centre, where I got diagnosed very quickly. I also had echolalia which is repetition of speech. I would only use single words. I didn’t talk properly until I was 6 years old, when I started school.

Growing up was difficult for me

I was never able to express my emotions or communicated properly. I was never comfortable around groups of people because I was never used to it before, I didn’t know how to communicate or include myself in conversations and activities with people. Whenever they would attempt to involve me, I would push them away and lock myself in the toilets at school, due to my anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.

I couldn’t and to this day cannot cope with some noises and sounds that lead to sensory overload, including motorbikes, horns, fire alarms, police cars and ambulances driving by, multiple people talking at once, etc.

I preferred having a small group of friends instead of a big group. If I was stuck with my work at school, I would find it hard to put my hand up and ask a teacher for help. I used to put myself down for being different but realised later when I got older that I was able to accept that I may have this condition but there is nothing wrong with being different and I can love myself.

When I finally left school at 16 I was able to do whatever I wanted and went to college. I saw it as a new chapter in my life and didn’t want to be the same shy and quiet person I used to be because I wanted to start increasing my confidence and communication skills by meeting new people. I met some great people and made a couple of friends there and felt happier at college than I ever was at school, I became more open and not let anything bad get to me and learnt to let things go.

Despite dealing with anxiety and depression, I’ve made a lot of achievements. I completed my bakery course at college, I started my first job as a director for dates-n-mates – a dating and friendship agency for adults with learning disabilities. I met my boyfriend Ryan who I’ve been with for nearly 4 years, I’ve moved out and live with my boyfriend and our cat Misty.

I have finally gained some independence for the first time in my adult life. I feel so lucky and happy with everything I have.

I drew an autism puzzle piece and had it tattooed on my lower arm

I am so proud of having this tattoo because if someone asks what it means, it gives me an opportunity to talk about my experience living with the condition and being able to spread awareness at the same time.

One day, I would like to be an advocate for autistic people. I have been inspired recently by a woman from England called Sara, known on social media as Agony Auntie who is an advocate for autism who also lives with the condition and talks about her experience and does a brilliant job spreading awareness.

If you are living with autism and you are finding it difficult to feel included, don’t give up.

I thought I would never achieve my goal of increasing my social skills.

It takes a lot of time and patience to find our voice. When that time comes, you will be prouder of yourself than anything in your life.

This was my story and I hope you enjoyed it.

Sarah: dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director

 

dates-n-mates.co.uk/aberdeen
facebook.com/aberdeen