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Changes Nightclub (The Story So Far)

In 2003, Community Link Up was approached by Andy Farr; a young man with a learning difficulty, to help and support him to start up his own project called Changes Nightclub. With the support of Community Link Up, Andy set up a steering group to find an appropriate location. During the early stages the project faced various teething problems, which meant a relocation of venue. Kodak stepped in to save the day and generously agreed to sponsor the nightclub that will take place every 2 months at their Sports and Social Club called Zoom Leisure (formerly Eastman's Hall). The nightclub also received a donation of £1000 from North West London Community Foundation. In March 2003, Community Link Up founded a DJ/Sound Engineering course to help people with learning difficulties to extend their interests in learning to become DJs. A pilot scheme was introduced at Harrow College. On completion of the course, the students were given the chance to display their skills to a live audience at Andy Farr’s nightclub. The eagerly awaited launch of the Changes night club finally kicked off with a bang on 5th June 2003!! More than a hundred people turned up with their glad rags and dancing shoes to boogie away to the good old tunes from the 60s and 70s and the latest hits from the charts, all of which were echoed in the Kodak Sports and Social Club, thanks to the generosity of the Kodak Management team and Sallie Ann Davis. The music decks were manned by Community Link Up members Andy Farr, Mutiu Olaiya and Ricky Day. Thanks to their professional and personal service, the DJs certainly kept the dance floor full all night! The club was equipped with the latest sound and lighting technology created by the newly trained DJs which produced a fantastic and exciting atmosphere! A fully licensed bar was also available to quench those thirsts after a strut of funky moves on the dance floor!! It’s an excellent place to meet new people and make new friends! The nightclub draws in crowds from all different areas, not just people from Harrow.

Changes has gone from strength to strength. As well as Kodak’s ongoing support, Changes has also received continuous support from Middlesex Sound & Lighting, in particular with the supply of equipment, and more recently SF Group. SF Group had this to say about their support for Changes: "We at SF Group are very happy our donations help improve the quality of life for people with learning disabilities. Our Managing Director and Trustee Rob Yong, is committed to the charity in a big way, all our admin costs are met by the company and they match our donations pound for pound. We hope the equipment we have bought will help Changes Nightclub to become more mobile so that even more people can enjoy what the club offers, and your current service users can benefit from the opportunities of working in the wider environment. We are delighted to have been involved with Community Link Up on this worthwhile (and fun) project and we hope it runs for many years." Brenda Yong Fund Manager SF Group Charitable Fund for Disabled People The Chairman and members of Changes Nightclub express their sincere thanks to the Staff, Managing Director and Trustee Mr. Rob Yong of SF Group for their most generous donation of £4,427 towards the purchase cost of disco sound and lighting equipment, and photographic equipment. The equipment will enable our members to expand our service to a wider section of the community, especially to the service users in care homes and day centres.

The success of this project is ample proof that people with learning difficulties can pursue their dreams and aspirations, given dedicated support and goodwill by the communities they live in, and sponsorship from socially responsible and enlightened organisations such as SF Group. The reputation of the nightclub is spreading, with the Changes team performing a number of outside gigs and presentations. One of the presentations was given at the Harrow Civic Centre as part of the European Disability Awareness week, another was given at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and one was also given at Community Link Up’s Annual General Meeting in 2009.

So, don’t miss out on the fun and get your grooves and platform shoes ready for yet another night to remember!! Huge thanks for all the help and support that Changes received from everyone!


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