“The city's most inclusive club night for and by people with learning disabilities” - Residential Advisor
The Bubble Club is a super fun and totally accessible club night held at the legendary Backyard Comedy Club in the heart of Bethnal Green. There is a different theme for each event and the atmosphere is inclusive and welcoming to people from all walks of life. It is run by people with learning disabilities but anyone is welcome to come along.
Bubble club describes itself as a "super fun and inclusive club night that is safe and host some of London's fantastic performers". The club has been running for 13 years and provides adults that have learning difficulties a place to enjoy a night out in a safe environment. The club is also inclusive for people with other disabilities such as autism.
Although the event is ran by a management team, it is clear that the team members who have learning difficulties are in full creative control. This is part of a long-term strategy to help build skills such as creativity and event planning. The organisers ensure the night is accessible in every way. This includes easy-to-read menus and also a carefully curated line up.
It is clear to the attendees that the event means a lot to them, as it is a place where new friendships can be made.
The original Bubble Club project grew from out of a series of meetings held in 2005 as part of an think tank called "Have Your Say" where people with learning disabilities were given the chance to speak out about the injustices they were experiencing in their local communities. Some of the major concerns being raised were widespread experiences of social isolation and loneliness. People reported feeling unsafe to go out in the evenings and lacked any opportunity to socialise in the evening.
A number of these people, with the support of local Learning Disability advocacy group, Mapsquad, then began plans for the Bubble Club, a place where people of all abilities would feel welcome to come and enjoy a night out.
Since a £7 billion reduction in social care funding since 2010, places like Bubble Club are even more vital to allow adults with learning difficulties to attend social events and to build new friendships.
All in all, 2018 was a brilliant year to begin this new era of the club and it was an honour to be listed at number 25 on the Big Issue’s TOP 100 Changemakers of 2019 at the end of it.
Putting on Top-quality, undiluted club nights that are accessible to everybody And promote the positive value of people with learning disabilities in our society.
Providing high quality night time entertainment opportunities for those who have been excluded from mainstream culture.
Fighting against rising levels of loneliness by providing social opportunities to those who are most at risk of isolation.
Helping build and maintain a community that is cohesive and inclusive and values everybody.
Presenting an example of what truly accessible and inclusive nightlife culture looks like for the rest of the world to take note.
Providing a public platform for learning disabled artists and performers.
Facilitating weekly planning workshops where people with learning disabilities are able to develop useful skills and experiences for employment prospects and general well being.
Presenting a successful model of co-production that matches people with learning disabilities with professional in the entertainment industry in a radical lateral model of production.
Challenging negative perceptions with positive integration of people with learning disabilities as leaders and valuable contributors in the community.
Ensuring that the work we are doing truly reflects the needs of the people we are here to help.
In summary, London's Bubble Club offers many opportunities for adults with learning disabilities towards personal development and leisure time. Through this project — one of which is rarely attempted elsewhere and of this magnitude — this empowers its users with the chance to gain new skills, meet new people and most of all, improve personal wellbeing. To learn more about the Bubble Club, visit their website here.
“Bubble club is nice because its safe. It’s like a family” - Testimonial