Music helping people to lead improved life

busking in Hastings SUS-150510-095518001
busking in Hastings SUS-150510-095518001

A charity took over Hastings town centre with a busking campaign to recruit volunteers and raise awareness about issues people with a learning disability may face.

Stay Up Late is a Sussex-based charity, which started as a national campaign to ensure that people with a learning disability receive the practical support they need to enjoy a full and active social life- support that doesn’t stop at 9pm.

The charity’s main project, Gig Buddies, links adults with a learning disability to volunteers with a similar interest in music or other events to go out together.

The project helps to combat social isolation by enabling people with a learning disability to build friendships within their communities and make choices about how they live their lives.

Whilst there are over 50 pairs of Gig Buddies in Sussex, there are many more learning disabled people who would like to be a part of the project, particularly in Hastings. Stay Up Late are hoping to attract some new volunteers through their recent busking campaign.

The Busking campaign saw the town centre being taken over by groups of musicians both with and without learning disabilities.

As they played a few songs, Stay Up Late staff and volunteers talked to members of the public, discussing how Hastings residents could get involved in the Gig Buddies project.

The line up included local band Delta, and Paul Richards, guitarist from the successful punk band ‘Heavy Load’, who co-founded the charity and acts as director.

Paul Richards said: ‘the charity was set up as a response to seeing people with learning disabilities being denied the sort of social opportunities that many of us take for granted…we’re keen for many more people to benefit.”

Holly Bell, from the charity, said: “Hopefully the Busking Campaign will help the charity to recruit more volunteers so that the project can continue to expand, and more people can be given the chance to enjoy a full and active social life. As everyone should be able to do.

For more information on the charity and the Gig Buddies project, visit :

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