Sheffield organisation Under the Stars celebrates ten years of club nights for people with disabilities

Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.
Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.
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After spending time excitedly getting ready with friends, hundreds of music lovers go to a city-centre nightclub for a night of dancing, socialising and fun.

This might not sound like anything out of the ordinary - many of us will have spent countless nights in the numerous clubs Sheffield has to offer and will be familiar with the routine of putting on our best outfits before going to dance the night away to the latest chart music with friends.

Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.

Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.

What makes this particular group of friends special is they all have learning disabilities. They attend an club night called Under The Stars at Leadmill, Leadmill Road.

Alex Deadman, music tutor and stage manager said: “We have people come from aged 18 to OAPs. We cater for all music tastes, from pop and rock and reggae and R&B. It’s brilliant to see people being themselves and bonding with each other. They can be a bit outrageous and not fear being judged because everyone there has their own difficulties.”

Set up and run by volunteers from an organisation of the same name, the club is aimed exclusively at anyone with learning difficulties - and next week it will celebrate its tenth birthday.

The event was created by Ruth Parrott in 2007.

Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.

Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.

Alex added: “There were people who wanted to go out and enjoy themselves in an adult way, but there were a few problems with regular club nights so we wanted to create a fun, safe environment for them.”

The first party was supposed to be a one-off event, but proved so popular that it was organised on a regular basis. Ten years later, there are now five events held throughout the year - and each one is attended by around 500 people.

All of the Under The Stars DJs - and some of the volunteers and organisers - also have a learning disability or autism too. They learnt their DJing skills through the organisation and now have the confidence to perform live for the full dancefloor.

Carl, one of the club’s first DJ’s, said:“It is a good idea for people with a learning disability to have somewhere to go to dance to music and make new friends. I really enjoy DJing and being on stage in front of a big crowd. I choose music that makes people want to dance.”

Dan, at Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.

Dan, at Under the Stars night club, Leadmill, Sheffield. The club night is organised specifically for people with learning disabilities.

The 10th birthday party, on Thursday June 22, will feature two rooms of music and live performances from musicians who have learned to play at Under The Stars music workshops. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are £5 on the door. Over 18s only.

Visit www.underthestars.org.uk site for more information.