Sheffield group teaching people with learning difficulties DJ skills receives £7,500

Nearly £7,500 has been awarded to a Sheffield community group for the continuation of workshops for people with learning difficulties.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:06 pm

Under The Stars is one of the community-led groups to receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The project aims to help participants to learn more about DJ skills, and ultimately perform at events for other people with disabilities, with the goal of creating inclusive social nights.

Ruth Parrott, Founder at Under the Stars said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, our DJs, who all have a learning disability or autism, will get to access the latest professional kit to perform their fabulous sets at our iconic nightclub at the Leadmill and exciting Sheffield festivals like Tramlines.

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DJ Bethan Morgan, who learned to DJ through Under The Stars.

“The new equipment has many great features that make DJing more accessible for our artists including bigger, brighter screens with images and large accessible buttons.

“We try to run our club nights with as few differences as possible from any other club night in Sheffield, but with the premise that we look after everyone who is there, making them feel comfortable to party with their friends and ensuring everyone gets home safely.

“It’s the best party in town. There is no party like an Under The Stars party!”

Using industry-quality equipment and advanced specialised training, people with a passion for music and entertainment have the opportunity to learn a new skill and meet new friends, while also helping to run these successful social nights for over 400 people per event.

Bethan DJ rocking the decks

While Covid has recently curtailed plans for events in the imminent future, the group members are hard at work perfecting their skills on the decks, ready for the re-opening.

The inspiration for the project came from the belief that there is a significant lack of safe, high-quality social events for people with learning disabilities to enjoy themselves in South Yorkshire.

While being sensitive to the needs of the club-goers, Under The Stars constantly strives to make its events as similar to the rest of the Sheffield nightlife scene, with two dance rooms featuring timeless classics, pop dance hits and alternative club tunes.

DJ's at Under The Stars' event. Picture by Rich Sayles

DJ Bethan Morgan, who learned to DJ through Under The Stars, said: “I just can’t wait to have a go on the new decks when they arrive. I love DJing and can’t wait to get even better. I have already transferred all of my CDs onto a USB stick so I’m ready to go.”

Abdou Sidibe, Deputy Director of Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “I am incredibly proud to see the amazing impact that money raised by National Lottery players is having in communities across South Yorkshire.

"Recent challenges have shone a light on the inspiring volunteers and groups, like Under The Stars, who have been dedicated to helping their communities to thrive. This funding has given a much-needed boost to community spirit this year after what have been some extremely difficult times.”

Under The Stars nightclub is an event that was started by people with learning disabilities, for people with learning disabilities over ten years ago, and now hosts events six times a year at The Leadmill music venue in central Sheffield.

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes.