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New disabled club night in Norwich is a massive success

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 March 2011 | UPDATED: 11:04 01 March 2011

The first AJ's disabled club night at Open youth venue in Norwich.

The first AJ's disabled club night at Open youth venue in Norwich.

A new club night in Norwich for youngsters with learning difficulties has proved so popular that there are set to be further events.

More than 150 people aged between 13 and 25 attended the first event, called AJ’s, at the Open Youth Trust venue on Bank Plain on February 19.

Youngsters, their parents and carers, came from as far afield as King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth to experience the fun and friendship on offer.

The event was organised by young people at the Open Youth Forum in memory of two former members, Andrew Doddington and Jonathan Iceiton, both of whom have died, but who loved clubbing and never let their disability get in the way of their enjoyment of life.

Sarah Mintey, principal of the Open Youth Venue, said: “It went so well – there were about 150 people. We had an overwhelming ‘when are you going to do that again’ and we’re now looking at doing it on a regular basis.

“We had people come from Yarmouth and King’s Lynn to it because there’s nothing else like it in the county.”

The club night gave youngsters with learning difficulties the chance to meet other people with similar life experiences and enabled them to have fun, develop friendships and boost their confidence.

David Mills, project leader, said the event was the culmination of more than a year of hard work by youngsters at Open and a number of other organisations, including About With Friends, Build and Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People.

Mr Mills said the success of the first club night of its kind at Open and the first in Norfolk proved there was an appetite for this type of event in the city.

He said: “After a year of working on it, it was really nice to see it all come together and to see people loving it and parents saying how needed it was.

“We’ve had lots of positive feedback and parents and people asking when the next one is going to be. We’re looking at putting more events on in the year, but keep an eye on our website for a date.”

The youth project purchased special sensory equipment for the event, including a sensory light projector, large play mats, a huge bean bag, a fibre optic harness and a bubble tube and featured the best tunes to really get the party going.

Organisers have not yet decided on a date for the next event, but say details will go up on the website www.open247.org.uk when a decision has been made.

Are you putting on something different in the community? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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