A NIGHT out can sometimes be scary experience for people with learning difficulties. But one organisation is determined to change that, learns Bolton News reporter Jeremy Culley.
FOR thousands of revellers out in Bolton and Manchester on a typical Saturday night, memories on Sunday morning will have been a little hazy.
And for most people, a night on the dancefloor having had one-too-many beers is scarcely noteworthy.
But for thousands of people in the UK, finding the courage to let yourself go and party is a real challenge.
Overcoming inhibitions for those with Down’s syndrome and people with learning difficulties can be almost impossible.
Summoning up the courage has now been made a lot easier thanks to the efforts of a community group which helps adults with learning difficulties.
Just BU has about 20 members of various ages and operate in Wigan, Leigh, Atherton and Westhoughton.
Members can range from teenagers to people in their 50s and 60s with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
But, despite their members’ issues, the group’s emphasis is on making their lives more fun — and that now includes a monthly club night after one member expressed her lifelong wish to “go to a rave”.
Just BU answered her call and launched Fusion @ Cafe Stella in Leigh.
The night, which catered solely for disabled people, attracted more than 75 visitors to its Christmas night on December 19.
A motto of Just BU is that it caters its services to individual requests, an approach which sparked the Fusion @ Cafe Stella idea.
Founder Justin Fellows, aged 41, started Just BU two years ago after leaving Wigan Council’s adult and social services department as its operations was scaled back amid budget cuts.
He was inspired by his uncle, Clive, who suffers from Down’s Syndrome. Mr Fellows said: “I worked for the council for more than 20 years, but by the end, cost-cutting and different projects meant I was unable to help people in the way I had done.
“I thought I’d go for it and set this up and most of it is funded by local authorities — but we also do some fundraising.
“Anyone over 18 can join and we let them do exactly what they want to do. “We’ve got a Wii, Nintendo DS, table tennis, table football and some members are studying for qualifications through us.”
On the club night he said: “We get many different people interested and like to cater for everybody.
“We run from 7pm to 11pm and start out a bit slower with a variety of music, and then get some disco stuff on later on as a lot of the older people like to leave at about 9pm.
“The members asked for it and a lot of them play a role, which gives them experience in the world of work.
“We had a guy glass collecting, another behind the bar and one doing a DJ set.
“It’s a real nightclub in Leigh town centre, and we’re grateful to Cafe Stella for letting us do it because they don’t charge us.”
Sixty tickets for the first night at Cafe Stella sold within two hours of being on sale, and members demanded it become a regular event after such a successful start.
Their next Fusion night is on January 28.
Mr Fellows added: “These things are important because these people want more independence and excitement but can’t get it elsewhere. We have more ideas to develop the night but it’s been fantastic so far.”