Transcript: Stay Up Late

A campaign to support those with learning disabilities to enjoy nightlife

Podcast Episode: Stay Up Late

Category: Disability 


What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

Michael: On this episode with Iriss, I went to find out about a new campaign to Scotland called Stay Up Late Scotland where I spoke to the secretary, Keith Etherington and the Vice Chair, William Rae about their new campaign.

Keith can you tell us a bit about what Stay Up Late is?

Keith: Stay Up Late is a campaign about people with learning disabilities and or any other additional needs, having the right to stay up and get support at the right time of day for them. So, it includes staying up late, getting out, having a good social life, getting support at times of day and night that suit you best. And it started a long time ago with a band called Heavy Load, when they noticed people needing to leave their gigs early because their support was finishing. So, basically Stay Up Late is a campaign for people to get the right support to live the lives that they want.

Michael: William, how important is this campaign?

William: Quite important, it’s only fair to see people have their own support the way they want it and how they want it run and to stay up like any normal human being, past bedtime, whatever bedtime is for you.

Michael: So, this campaign has been running down south for quite a few years now, so it came up to Scotland about 2 or 3 years ago?

Keith: Yeah, we’ve been trying to do … a few people have been trying to do things round Stay Up Late for quite a while in Scotland and then, well I mean, you know Michael because obviously you’re instrumental in the campaign, we’ve been working out ways that we could either do some gigs to promote it, I’ve developed some materials and resources that could promote the campaign, promote good ideas about ways that people could get the right support and get a good social life. We started having regional meetings and meetings that moved round the country and then more recently, of course, this pandemic struck so we’ve been doing meetings online and still trying to organise things.

Michael: Where do you meet, you know, pre-Covid, whereabouts would you meet for having your meetings?

William: I would say, certainly in the North East, we’ve been meeting in Aberdeen, we also, obviously the national committee met in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I think we try and rotate across the big cities in Scotland, the only one I don’t think we do is Dundee. So, we do the top 2 and the fourth one, the fourth biggest city being obviously Aberdeen and then the top 2 being Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Michael: And obviously we’ve had somebody else just join us from Inverness as well so, that’s good to see that.

Keith: Yeah, well it’s meant to be a national committee so, it’s meant to be like a committee of people from anywhere in Scotland really who want to promote the ideas of Stay Up Late, of being able to stay up late and be out and have a good social life and get the support that you need if you need it to do that. We’re meeting more regularly now because we’ve been doing it on zoom.

Michael: So, what’s your feedback been like to this Stay Up Late? At the events have you had a lot of people coming along?

William: Yeah, I’d say we’ve had quite a … our zoom events, we’ve had a number of people coming along, talking about staying up late: one, 2, 3 in the morning, I think at one point. At the point now, we’re almost staying up until the sun comes up.

Keith: Yeah, so the national committee tries to organise a few different things, doesn’t it? So, we … I don’t know whether you want me to say that now Michael but we’re doing an event as part of Learning Disability Week through Stay Up Late Scotland, we do our regular music live stream on the first Friday of every month, once restrictions are lifted I’m sure we’ll go back to organising actual physical events where people can get back together, we’ve talked about doing other workshops at different times, raising awareness generally about the campaign, both for people and in organisations as well, there are Stay Up Late ambassadors. William, do you want to say anything about the ambassador’s role?

William: So, the UK ambassadors at the moment, we’ve all been meeting on zoom from right across the United Kingdom, unfortunately I don’t think we’ve had anyone from Northern Ireland but we’ve had from Scotland, Wales and England, both parts of Wales and both parts of Scotland and down the whole country so, it’s been good to meet up and hear what our counterparts are doing in Wales, what our counterparts are doing in England and just really to hear what’s going on and how they’re coping with the lockdown and taking the Stay Up Late manifesto forward.

Michael: Just going back to what you were saying Keith about the Learning Disability Week gig that we’re involved in. So, tell us how you got involved in that?

Keith: So, that was really the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability getting in touch with us to say, we’re developing different events for learning Disability Week online this year, would Stay Up Late Scotland like to get involved on one of the days which is particularly focused on social life, people having a good social life, so that was really … they asked us if we wanted to get involved so we’ve been planning what we call Stay Up Late Scotland takeover on the Saturday night which will be music, DJs and also we’re going to have a social space that we call the No Bed Times Bar.

Michael: I was going to ask you about No Bed Times in a minute or two but just going back about Stay Up Late, so, I take it the model of Stay Up Late England that you’re trying to maybe not copy is the right word, is mimic it in Scotland a wee bit?

Keith: Yeah, replicate it, yeah, yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

Keith: Yeah and William mentioned the manifesto there. So, there’s the manifesto that’s been written which is really just like the key points of what Stay Up Late’s about, isn’t it? I think there’s about 6 or 7 things in the manifesto and it is about having the right to have your own friends and having the right to get the support at the right time for you so, I mean it’s really simple things but it’s just like a clear statement of the principles of the campaign, isn’t it?

Michael: Tell me a bit about the music sessions that you’ve been running, Keith, once a month. Why did you start the music sessions?

Keith: Well partly because everything had gone online so we couldn’t do any physical gigs and other stuff like that in venues and it was also because Stay Up Late Scotland had been involved in 2019 in CitizenFest and had done some events through CitizenFest and we thought well how can we have things that are interesting that people might want to come to online? So, we decided to do that music show which is once a month and it gathers in music that people have made from all around the world, we talk about it being new and inclusive music from around the world. So, we just put a call out every month and see what comes in.

Michael: Yeah and we’ve had good feedback and a lot of people watch it on Facebook Live as well.

Keith: Yeah, and it’s broadcast in a few different places now and it’s broadcast Citizen Network TV, Stay Up Late Scotland Facebook, it’s broadcast through the GIG Buddies Coronavirus Festival Facebook page, so a few different places.

Michael: When the lockdown is finished and everybody’s going back out, what would your target be? Would it be to all gigs or would it be to raise more awareness about Stay Up Late Scotland?

Keith: Yeah, I think so. What do you think, William? All of those things really.

William: All of those, yeah. All of the above. I think we need to get out to raise awareness of No Bed Time. We need to get out to raise awareness of gigs and just keep on humming the Stay Up Late message.

Michael: I was going to say, William, tell us a bit about the No Bed Times Campaign Stay Up Late Scotland?

William: So, we’re working on a campaign where we abolish, completely abolish bed time. So, if you need care or support that you shouldn’t have a bedtime, and shouldn’t be thinking about a bed time at all where you should have the freedom and choice like the rest of us have to go to be whenever.

Michael: And how, if people are listening to this that wants to get involved in the local meetings or just to find out more about the brilliant work that we do, because obviously I’m part of it as well, Stay Up Late, how could they get involved in it, William?

William: They could drop us a message on our Facebook page, it’s Stay Up Late Scotland or they could email

Michael: And obviously we’re on Twitter as well, Stay Up Late Scotland on Twitter. So, what would you say to people, both of you, what would you say to people if people that want to stay up late but not sure about going out or staying up and having fun?

Keith: I would say find something that you want to do and then try it. Yeah, not yet because you can’t go out anywhere.

Michael: Nope.

Keith: But when things change again, that’s what I would say. Just like I would say, for anyone really, if you want to … especially when we’re coming out of lockdown, people will be a bit wary about going out to places, won’t they? So, it is just about taking the steps that you feel comfortable with.

Michael: Uh huh.

Keith: But the important bit is it’s up to you, that you have the choice yourself, isn’t it William?

William: I would echo that, if you see something you like, just get out and do it and give it a try, don’t be scared. Obviously don’t go out and try and do it just now because of the current lockdown restrictions we have but certainly if you see something and think, “Oh, I fancy that.” Or if you see a gig at any of our big arenas across Scotland I would just get out and just go and just try and support the No Bed Time. I would say to any support, anybody from a support organisation listening or anyone who supports anyone, to try and get behind the No Bed Times campaign. You know I’m sure there are a number of organisations who’ll probably listen and support organisations who’ll listen to the this but just imagine if you’re the first support organisation in Scotland to say that, “We support No Bed Times and none of our people we work for or support or look after, has got a set bedtime routine.” You could be a trailblazer and become a real history maker and get your name in the history books.

Michael: So, just to remind people again, if they’re wanting to come along to experience Stay Up Late if you haven’t been, on the 15th of May, so on zoom, so if you want to email us again it’s and it’s on zoom, that night as well. So, good luck for the event coming up and thanks for speaking here.

Transcript Copyright:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License