Following the launch of ‘Infinity at PJs’ last month, an inclusive nightclub experience for people with learning disabilities, autism and additional support needs in Warrington, we sat down with Becky Brindle to discuss what inspired her to pursue the project.
Could you introduce yourself and your role at MacIntyre?
Hi, I’m Becky, I’m a Frontline Manager in Warrington and have worked with MacIntyre since December 2018.
Where did the idea of ‘Infinity at PJ’s’ come from? What inspired you?
I have worked in Warrington for the past five years and was part of setting up a similar experience a few years ago. Due to organisational changes, this night didn’t continue, but I knew that there was an opportunity for this to be started up again.
I joined MacIntyre because it’s a company that shares my values and I knew about how many community-based projects they do across Warrington. I’d previously worked in partnership with MacIntyre on other projects, so I knew that this would be something that they would buy into.
How did you turn the idea into a reality?
I discussed the idea with my Area Manager, Andrea and she naturally let me get on with organising it. I spoke to Pete, our Great Communities Manager, who put me in touch with Creating Adventures. One of the other outcomes I wanted from this was to be working in partnership with other organisations. I’d also shared the idea at friendship groups and 'Speak Up', our local advocacy service.
I approached different nightclubs in Warrington via social media and stated what we were looking for and if they would be interested in meeting us to discuss further. Those who responded I arranged to meet up with, along with Pete our Great Communities Manager and Jenny from Creating Adventures.
PJ’s was the exact environment we were looking for. It is modern, accessible, not to mention the light-up dance floor. The owner was willing to give us the venue for free, along with bar staff, doormen and a DJ. He would make money on the bar and the money we take on the door will go directly back to people supported across Warrington, to fund trips out.
Once we had a venue, it was then all about marketing. We shared it with the Warrington Borough Council, who sent it out to all providers. We sent it to 'Speak up', we captured day support, we organised meetings and promoted it on social media. We came up with a few ideas but for people supported, 'Infinity' was the standout choice.
What was the response from people who attended?
They loved it! The light-up dancefloor was never empty, the DJ was fantastic (a few Jaeger Bombs were consumed too!) and it was just amazing to see people having a great time. It was also great to see people from other organisations in attendance and friendships being developed.
Where do you see the concept going?
Since the launch night, there has been so much talk about it. We have continued to market it and we are looking at capturing the people who only get small amounts of support. I have been in touch with the council and 'Speak Up' to see if they can connect us to people who are also supported by parents to see if this would be something we could support them to attend.
We want this to be an opportunity for everyone supported across Warrington to have a unique experience.
Come along to the next Infinity at PJ’s event:
- When: Wednesday 7 August, 7pm-10:30pm
- Where: PJ’s, 100-104 Bridge St, Warrington, WA1 2RU