Harrow Association of Disabled People reopened Changes Night club in February thanks to a grant from Harrow Giving.
Held at the Red Brick Cafe at the Wealdstone Centre, Changes nightclub had been running once a month for 18 years prior to Covid. Open to Harrow residents with a range of disabilities to get together with their friends and carers, it was a chance to meet new people and make new friends.
But when Covid hit Changes had to turn off the music and shut its doors. Even when the lockdowns eased, it had been unable to open again, leaving many without a valuable social outlet. This loss of community meant ongoing struggles with isolation, anxiety and depression.
Since its relaunch in February over 236 disco goers have benefitted from the grant, and the service has been able to continue beyond this funding thanks to the kick start from Harrow Giving! HAD has also been able to update their equipment for the disco, including new speakers, and provide DJ Training for volunteers. The community and service users report feeling more connected again, as well as getting more exercise from the dancing!
For 3.5 months HAD was also able to run a weekly “Coffee and Chat service” for members of the local community at the Red Brick Café. For many this was a much needed opportunity to get back into the community again, as well as a chance to seek advice where needed. This has been particularly helpful in supporting those on the Autism spectrum.
Where needed HAD continues to provide support via telephone calls and Zoom where some are still feeling the effects of Covid, or are still reluctant to leave the house. However the finding from Harrow Giving has provided a huge boost to their in person activities and meant 288 residents are now less isolated and involved with the community again.