A Big Night Out connects people with disabilities

People with disabilities enjoyed A Big Aussie Night Out at Hogan’s Hotel, Wellington Point last night (Feb 5).

“It was an absolutely brilliant evening,” says organiser Laura Arnold.

Laura and fellow education students, Samantha Bamberry and Matthew Tolchard, organised the event to give people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a nightclub experience.

“There’s nowhere in Brisbane that people with disabilities can go if they want to they want to attend a nightclub. It’s really difficult for them because they may have issues with access, bright strobe-lights, smoke machines and other obstacles,’’ Laura said.

“The idea for A Big Night Out began when my 19-year-old brother Tom who has cerebral palsy asked me to take him out nightclubbing, so I took him to a couple of venues but they weren’t really suitable.

“We decided to organise a series of events called A Big Night Out because we realised there’s so many people in Brisbane with disabilities who never get to experience social activities able-bodied people take for granted.”

Seventy people attended the inaugural Big Night Out in November last year, while more than 90 attended last night’s event.

“The response from the first night was outstanding with so many people telling us it was a wonderful experience and asking when the next night was going to be held,’’ Samantha says.

Social media also helped spread the word throughout the disabled community, with a Facebook page allowing people to register their interest and receive event updates.

“Facebook has been a great way to network and help us find people who may not otherwise have found out about the night.”

Playing at the Big Night Out for the second time was local band ‘Raise the Bar’, a group of musicians with disabilities who use singing, percussive beats and rhythm and dancing to engage their audience.