Couples step in to save social evening

Antony Alton and partner Elaine Byard have taken over running social nights for people with learning disabilaties at Hacketts bar in Belper
Antony Alton and partner Elaine Byard have taken over running social nights for people with learning disabilaties at Hacketts bar in Belper

A popular social night for people with learning disbilities has been saved after two couples stepped in to take over the reins.

Hacketts Bar has been home to the sessions, which have attract ed more than 70 people a time for the last three years.

However, they were left in limbo and it was rumoured the nights might be stopped after the previous organiser, JP Deacon, stepped down.

Now, Antony Alton and Elaine Byard from Belper, along with Richard and Jill Orme have taken over the organisation of the evenings, held on the third Wednesday of every month.

Mr Alton, 48, said: “When people with learning 
disabilities get to adulthood in this area it seems as though there is so little out there for them to do.

“They absolutely love the nights, everyone enjoys it, and to see all their smiling faces is brilliant. It gives them a real confidence boost.

“It was said that the nights were stopping but that’s not true - they are not shutting down - they are actually getting bigger and better.

“They are still free entry and we are putting on free food for the next event. People travel from places such as Derby and Heanor to attend.”

Among the activities being held on the social nights now are karaoke, discos and raffles.

They were set up in August 2009 to give young people with learning difficulties and adults with additional needs a taste of a night out in town. Ray Hackett and Pat O’Donnell provide the venue and disco for the evenings free of charge.

The next social night is on March 20 from 7pm to 10pm.