A few weeks ago, several of our Stingray Nightclub committee went on a trip to another learning disabilities club in London – the Beautiful Octopus Club by Heart and Soul. We were very honoured to be invited to ‘find out how they run their night club’ and the group learned a lot.
The trip was organised by My Life My Choice member and Trustee Paul Scarrott who is one of the managers of Stingray nightclub. Paul organised transport for the group, which included other Stingray staff Gina, Ben and Jackie, and together they ventured to London using the Oxford Tube.
When the group arrived at the Southbank centre, they could not find the nightclub as it was not very well signposted and the group were new to the area. To solve this, the group self-advocated and asked nearby people for directions.
When the group got into the nightclub, it was not exactly what they were expecting. Unlike Stingray, which is run almost entirely by adults with learning disabilities, most of the staff at the Beautiful Octopus Club did not have disabilities. The room was very big and the bands were very loud which Gina thought made it hard to hear each other and meant that the group left early.
Also unlike Stingray, the Octopussy club was open to all ages so there were kids and families at the event. This made the event feel less like a proper nightclub, Paul said, but it was clearly very popular with the community as the club was very busy.
Overall, the group found the club quite difficult as the bar was quite expensive and, particularly for Jackie who is in a wheelchair, access the dancefloor was difficult because of the crowd. However, the group learned a lot and are very proud of our Stingray nightclub for its access and the major role people with learning disabilities play in running it.
In the future, we hope to be invited to more different learning disability clubs to continue to learn about what others are doing, and we hope that people from other clubs will come to visit Stingray some time to see how we run things.
The next Stingray nightclub is on 25th September; come along to have a great time!!