A new club night for people in Mansfield and Ashfield with learning difficulties has been hailed a success by organisers.
Monthly club event TenFifty, held at the Andwhynot bar on Leeming Street, Mansfield town centre, is for people with learning disabilities and autism, as well as their carers.
The “much-needed” event is organised by Tracy Radford, from Southwell, and Jimmy Power, from Mansfield, who have combined their experiences working in arts, music, theatre, social care and youth work.
Tracy says she was overwhelmed with the success of TenFifty so far, after only two events, with the most recent, on Monday, April 4, attracting more than 140 people.
She says: “The event was a massive success and the atmosphere was just electric.
“It was exactly like a community of clubbers, it was lovely.”
‘We knew in our hearts it was going to work and it is what people needed’
TenFifty, for which admission is £4, or free for carers, is just like any other club event, with alcohol, music, and plenty of dancing.
Tracy says: “It felt really vibrant and exciting, just like any other club night – but safe at the same time.
“We had the street pastors out and the police were around making sure everybody was safe.”
Tracy and Jimmy liaised with the neighbourhood police officers, street pastors and the Purple Flag steering group to ensure the event ran smoothly – as well as having a team of volunteers on hand to help with anything.
The pair decided to go ahead with their idea after doing research with people who have learning disabilities in the Mansfield and Ashfield area.
And their research revealed that, although there are evening activities available for this group of people, there is a feeling of being “outside” mainstream events.
Tracy says: “We knew in our hearts it was going to work and it is what people needed.
“We recognise people with a learning disability do not have an equality of opportunity to access the night-time scene, or to do so in a safe, inclusive environment.
“So setting this up was important because people with learning disabilities need the same sort of town centre club environments that everybody else has.
“For so many people, the desire to go to a club is there, but there’s so much fear around it.
“We are getting people from all over Mansfield and Ashfield, as well as people from the wider Nottinghamshire
area, so it gives people a chance to make new friends as well.
“And we have been boosted by the feedback and the turnout and support – it has encouraged us to think about new things to go forward with.”
Susie Johnson, 34, from Sutton, has been to all the events so far and says she is glad it is happening.
She said: “There should be more for people with learning disabilities to have somewhere to go.”
“It was a great night to dance and chat with friends.
“I really loved it and can’t wait for the next one.”
Elizabeth Barke, aged 36, from Blidworth, also loved the event and said the staff were “polite and cheerful”.
She said: “It was a safe place to be, the music was great and I couldn’t ask for a better, safe club.
“I plan to go every month. It was absolutely great, I really enjoyed everything.”
Andrea Kowalkowski, 27, from Sutton, said: “It was good.
“I liked the music they were playing and the dancing... I would like to go again to meet more new friends.”
The event is held on the first working Monday of every month between 6.30pm and 10pm, with the next one on Monday, May 9.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/clubtenfifty.
Have you been to the event? What did you think? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.