By Lotte Pegler
People were lining up to attend Bognor Regis’ first club night for people with learning disabilities and autism.
The TAO Bar in High Street was packed on Wednesday for the launch of the Living Out Loud, the learning disability and autism friendly club night.
Organised by the Aldingbourne Trust, Apulstock, Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies, the night was tailored specifically for people with disabilities and autism.
Event organiser Casper Rioseco said: “The launch of Living Out Loud last night was a huge success with a resounding turnout.
“To see so many people enjoying themselves and feeling that they can be themselves and not have to worry about being judged in a safe and welcoming environment was a beauty to see.
“It was a huge turnout in numbers, with a variety of people of different ages coming together, from different walks of life, showing that having a disability and/or autism is not even a consideration to being able to socialise and most of all have fun.”
Ben Slade attended the event with his full time carer, Malcolm Squires.
“I have felt very comfortable,” said Ben, who has autism. “It’s quite lively and looks like lots of fun.
“It can be difficult coming along to things like this so it’s nice to just come and give it a go.”
Malcolm said: “He’s done lots of discos and this is particularly focused on people with autism.
“He would normally have had difficulty coming through the door. But he’s already talking about coming to another one, maybe in the future on his own.
“It’s important for the autistic to have nights like this. I think the venue is especially good with the quiet room out the back.”
Support worker Liz Lelliot attended the event. She said: “It’s been lovely, really good. I don’t think there’s enough events like this around. I think this is a great start.
“In the future it just needs to be bigger. You can tell how much it is needed from just how many people have come.”
The organisers are already planning the next night, which is set to take place on December 4. They said they hoped to prove once again there is a demand for a full-on clubbing experience within the local area for people with a learning disability or autism.