The first event listing specifically for people with learning disabilities and/or autism in the UK has been launched, and welcomed by celebrities including DJ Jo Whiley and singer Liam Gallagher.
The listing, which includes information about live events and venues for people with additional needs and autism is being provided by the Press Association news agency.
It makes information for people with special needs and autism widely available to the mainstream press and websites, which will be able to publish details of accessible events and venues alongside their regular entertainment and cultural listings.
The information, which has been provided in association with learning disability charity Netbuddy, includes details about:
• Inclusive club nights • Autism-friendly film screenings • Live music gigs for and by people with learning disabilities • Special needs yoga groups • Inclusive festivals • Inclusive dance performances and workshops • Exhibitions by disabled artists • Community arts programmes • Relaxed theatre performances • Local accessible sports • Inclusive drama groups.
The launch of this service is timely, given a recent Mencap report found 1 in 4 adults with a learning disability are stuck at home, after nearly a third of local authorities closed day services in the last three years, leaving people with special needs with few places to go.
Opening up a world of entertainment
Radio 2 DJ Whiley, whose sister has learning disabilities, is backing the listing. She said: “People with learning disabilities face a lack of opportunities that most of us take for granted. This new listing… will make a real difference and open up a whole world of entertainment to the special needs community.”
Former Oasis singer Gallagher and his wife, former All Saints singer Nicole, are also supporting the new listing: “We are so happy to see all the wonderful opportunities people with special needs can achieve with the outstanding work from Netbuddy.”
Netbuddy’s founder, Deborah Gundle, said: “We know there are lots of fantastic things going on around the UK for people with learning disabilities and autism, and it’s time more people knew about them.
“We are thrilled to be working with the Press Association and the publishers it supplies on such an important project, particularly at a time when so many local services and opportunities to get out and meet other people with special needs are under fire.”
Tony Watson, managing director of the Press Association added: “When Netbuddy asked for our help in making these events more widely known, we were pleased to get involved. We hope the hundreds of publications and websites that we supply will take the opportunity to highlight these events, which can make such an impact on the quality of life of so many people.”