South Shields mum launches new disco for young people with disabilities

Donna Johnston has launched a disco night for people with disabilities at The Charles Young Centre
Donna Johnston has launched a disco night for people with disabilities at The Charles Young Centre

The mum of a teenage boy with Down Syndrome has launched a monthly disco dedicated to young people living with a disability.

Donna Johnston hosted her first event eight months ago after being unable to find somewhere to take her 15-year-old son Taai.

A scene from a previous disco held at the Charles Young Centre

A scene from a previous disco held at the Charles Young Centre

The 34-year-old, who works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Gateshead, had been travelling through to Dunston so that he could attend a disco there when she decided to set up a similar event in South Shields.

Since then, the number of people has been climbing steadily with a different theme each month - and tonight’s event will have a neon theme attached to it.

Donna, from South Shields, said: “My son is that funny age where he sees some of the things being offered for young people with disabilities as either to young for him or he’s just not interested.

“When most teenagers his age are going out with his friends, there wasn’t really anything for him to go to.

I had no idea whether it would work, but we’ve been going for about eight months now and it’s going really well.

Donna Johnston

“We had been going to a disco in Dunston for a while and then just decided to see if one would work here in South Shields.

“I had no idea whether it would work, but we’ve been going for about eight months now and it’s going really well.”

The Happy House Disco is held each month at the Charles Young Centre, in Talbot Road, South Shields, with games, raffles and snacks.ene

Donna, whose son has Down’s Syndrome and autism said: “The success has really surprised me as I thought it would fall on its backside. But the people are coming in.

“It’s a great feeling being able to see them enjoying themselves in a safe environment.”

Tonight’s disco is open to people with a disability, and their carers, from the age of 13 upwards. All money raised on the night will be put towards covering the cost of the event.

Tickets cost £3 and people can pay on the door. Doors open at 7pm.