Why Can't They Stay Up Late? | The Stay Up Late Foundation

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 I was told about the Stay up Late foundation about a month ago – based in Brighton they describe themselves as a “Grassroots charity promoting the right for people with learning disabilities to have a choice about how they live their lives” the creator of the Stay Up Late foundation was the bass player in a punk band called Heavy Load, three of the band members had learning disabilities, and they used to get fed up with seeing their fans leave gigs early because their support staff had to finish work at 10pm. Stay Up Late began as a campaign for flexible caregiver hours, to enable those with disabilities to stay up late and take part in nightlife, however they chose. 

Stay up Late then launched Gig Buddies three years ago, which matches up people with learning disabilities {and physical disabilities} with a volunteer who loves the same kind of music as them so they can go to regular mainstream events together. And Stay Up Late.

According to Stay Up Lates director “There’s been an amazing amount of interest in the work we do and last year we supported an organisation in Sydney to set up their own version.”

I fell in love with the idea of this organisation, because it took disability from a different angle; nobody ever thinks, what if the disabled kid wants to go clubbing. When I told people about Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies, they all said the same thing “I never thought about that” because the truth is that it is not commonly thought of as something in the same realm as disability. However, gigs and clubbing (sorry I’m not up with the lingo) are a right of passage for young people, something which should be accessible for everyone.

Thanks to organisations like Stay up Late, it is! Gig Buddies, is not something where people become caregivers for those with difficulties, rather two people go to a gig as friends who look out for each other! Gig buddies enables people to develop relationships and access opportunities they otherwise would’ve found a lot harder! Surrounded by people who look out for them! Stay up Late is amazing! – Gig Buddies is now in Sydney we shall cross our fingers and see if it comes down to Auckland!

Until then ask yourself why can’t they stay up late, because we should all have access to rights of passage, we all need to stay up late sometimes!


I bought some of their merchandise but since its coming from the UK I couldn’t wait that long to make this post in their T-shirt, so instead I made a sign. That’s what my art teacher calls creativity – or maybe cardboard and a vivid isn’t creative. Is it?

The story of Stay Up Late got me thinking…

At this point in my life I would rather poke myself in the eye then go clubbing (the loud noise, the masses of people, that does not mix with my fright reflex – I’ll stick to blogging, knitting maybe) but perhaps one day I will want to venture into this activity and when I do I am very lucky to know people I trust enough to take me out into situations like this, and help me if needed . But did you know that most places where gigs take place, are no accessible for physically disabled people? Again because people don’t think of it as something done by those who have adverse challenges but it is or at least should be! How can we make this change? Well we can’t rock up to every inaccessible building in our thousands and tell them to build a ramp – but you, yes you, can do something! And for this we are going to take a page out of Deans book (who featured in our last post – Read it people! Support Find Her Smile!)

Dean without any hassle, panic or without me having to ask! Helped me down the stair! All the people at this event – then got on my level – they were inclusive, empathetic, they were role models.

What you can learn from this is simple:

For people who can easily walk and enter places they do not think about alternate access; however what you can do is just be simply aware of the people around you. Aware of those in your environment and when you can and it seems appropriate help people! All people not just the ones with visible challenges! Because if we can learn anything from Stay Up Late we can learn the importance of reaching out to everyone! We all are entitle to make our own choices, we all can enter the mainstream in different ways; and their will come a time when we all need help.

By remaining aware of those around us, and seeing those who need help, if they do – we are making ourselves stronger people and giving an example of what it means to be an empathetic person.

Because empathy is not about treating people differently or being overly helpful. It is simply about seeing a person – as a person and going from there. Because we all have differences, empathy like Stay Up Late is about recognising these differences and seeing them in a positive way, enabling people to live together, their best lives. And be as active in society as they can.

And hell yes this is something I am on board with! Because what if I told you  a boy who was non verbal for most of his life – said his first words, which were the lyrics to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song! Yes that happened! And it shows the power music has!

I am going to go now and knit or blog some more, since I am not into clubbing at this moment in time.

If you’d like to know more about Stay Up Late and their endeavours or initiatives such as Gig Buddies look here

And if you’d like to support Find Her Smile the other charity I mentioned look here

Both are incredible charities, people who change the world rarely set out to, they rather just wish to help people and Stay Up Late has helped countless people through their endeavours, live their best lives, just as Find Her Smile aims. Help each other out! Seek Higher.


Altiora Peto


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