MANCHESTER is known for its diverse nightlife with clubs focused around people with different music tastes, backgrounds and even sexual orientations, for example the city’s Canal Street – famously renamed Gay Village – sees thousands of visitors per day.
Yet, one group of people that are left often forgotten about are the learning disabled.
Fortunately, Meat Free DJs and charity organisation Manchester People First created the Under One Roof event just for them.
It was designed as a safe space for disabled clubbers who might not have felt secure in a regular nightclub. Instead of feeling vulnerable or uneasy, ravers were free to bring their support workers and let their hair down.
After a successful launch in July, Under One Roof was back on Wednesday and was held at trendy Northern Quarter hangout Texture. The night club specialises in unique nights out, having also recently hosted a “speed mating” event where young women could make friends in the city.
The rave, which is the third held this year, completely sold out with people coming from around the UK to experience the music and dancing live up front. Disco, house and techno tracks were played and punters had a chance to play with the DJ decks if they wanted. People were also able to purchase alcohol, soft drinks and light snacks to munch on the dancefloor.
DJ and Meat Free promoter Alice Woods explained the idea behind making the revolutionary club night: “We decided to start Under One Roof because we pride ourselves on being a really inclusive night in the city, and that’s one of our key principles we try to promote.
“When we thought about how to extend that past our normal nights and our normal audiences this seemed like the perfect thing to do.
“We’d seen someone in the Midlands had done it before and when we saw that, we knew that’s exactly what we needed to do”.
Asking whether the process was difficult, Alice assured us it was a lot easier than she thought. “We basically got in touch with Manchester People First, who have a really good network and they helped advice us with what we should do and how we should do it”.
The curators had to pay particular attention to the music not being too loud, and the light show not being bright enough to harm clubbers with epilepsy. Other than that, the event was completely accessible on the inside and outside of the venue.
The owner of Texture nightclub, Nicola Hoskin, was delighted to be hosting the event for a second time. She told us: “We’re an accessible venue and why would we not say yes to it. It’s great to be inclusive to people and everyone seemed to be having fun so it was a great night for all of us”.
After the night’s huge popularity, there are plans for even more accessible events to start in Manchester in the New Year.
Stephen Hughes from Manchester People First is hopeful that this is the case: “We would love to see lots more clubs open for people with a learning disability, so they can feel part of the community that they live in”.
Listen to our full interview here:
Interested in more Manchester events catered for the learning disabled? Click here.