BY JAMES TWOMEY
A nightclub is holding a monthly event for people with learning difficulties to provide them with an opportunity to meet people and build their confidence.
The NYNE Lounge in Bexleyheath puts on the Shine night for over 18s and makes the club wheelchair accessible with carers receiving free entry.
NYNE Lounge owner Pete Marshal, 38, from Bexley, said: “We just thought it would be nice to give back to the community, somewhere safe for people with learning difficulties to come and have fun.
“The feedback has been incredibly positive, people really look forward to coming each month.
“At first we didn’t realise the importance of the event, we were just offering a nice thing, but it’s great to see we are giving people the opportunity to have fun and be confident, it’s great for the family members as well.”
Helen Sharp, whose son has autism and has 20 years of experience helping people with autism in the borough, worked on setting up the night with Pete.
Helen said: “ This is due to having a son with severe autism and finding it difficult for him to take part in normal everyday activities because of his disability.
“I helped a Dartford charity build up a very successful nightclub in the town centre for adults over 18.
Two years ago I was contacted by Pete from the NYNE Bar as he had heard how good the Dartford club was and he wanted to provide the same for Bexley residents, I couldn’t say no and it went from there.
“Shine is now a successful once a month night-time activity for these persons to put on their social calendar.
It’s clear that they look forward to coming along each month and getting dressed up for the occasion.
“The dance floor is always packed and they can dance like no one is watching. And we do have some fabulous dancers.
“It provides a safe environment for people to socialise and form relationships which they normally wouldn’t be able to do.
Pete provides the venue, doormen the DJ and the bar staff. I’m very proud of its success and it’s a joy to see these young people having fun.”
The night has become very popular with around 100 attendees per event.
Councillor Brad Smith, cabinet member for adults’ services, said: “It is so important that all Bexley residents have a safe and relaxed atmosphere where they can socialise, form new relationships and enjoy a night out.
“I hope that this club night continues to thrive and inspires other venues in the borough to consider hosting their own inclusive events.”
You can find NYNE Lounge at 267 Broadway, Bexleyheath DA6 8DB.