Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Laura Gill

Category: Changing communities

After college I lost all my social life and missed my friends...I started The Monday Night Club so we could get together.

Social and political change

It isn’t often social opportunities and political change cross over, but Laura’s work knows no bounds and she’s busy improving opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism across Worcester.

The Monday Night Club

From small beginnings seven years ago, The Monday Night Club is now one of the liveliest places for people with learning disabilities and autism to gather in Worcester.

As the Chair of the Trustees, Laura has overseen the club’s progression to a registered charity and the hub of many social activities; from day trips to theatre shows, parties and sporting activities.

In 2018 the Club received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the MBE for groups.

Laura is 31 years old and has learning disabilities and autism. She attended special schools and college.

Laura Changing communities LDA Leaders' List 2018

“After college I lost all my social life and missed my friends. I tried to find a job, but couldn’t. I went to day activities, but was at home every evening on my own. I started The Monday Night Club so we could get together, make new friends and have some fun!”

Not only is The Monday Night Club beloved by the people who attend but it is also much appreciated by families and carers. Here’s just a couple of the responses Laura’s accessible club has received:

“Without the club the social opportunities of our daughter and her friends would be few, their ability to have fun with friends in a safe but relaxed environment would be limited, along with their access to other opportunities such as physical activities and trips.”

“My son, who has Down’s syndrome, has been attending the Club for at least 5 years and it is a key element in his life and his principle activity for meeting his friends and participating in a great range of social events… The Monday Night Club has made an exceptional contribution to overcoming social exclusion and promoting better wellbeing and health for disabled people in the community”.

Laura has also started a football club for people with learning disabilities and autism at the club, led by a personal ambition to achieve a recognised coaching qualification.

Laura has now already qualified as a FA Level 1 football coach and the team she started, The Monday Night Club Football Team, plays in a local league and has also recently received funding from the Football Foundation to start a women’s football team!

Worcestershire People’s Parliament

Laura was also one of the first members of Worcestershire’s People’s Parliament, which she now chairs.

The People’s Parliament examines and questions the services provided by public and private organisations for people with learning disabilities in Worcestershire. Members of the parliament, including Laura, hold decision-makers to account and insist that changes are made to improve services.

As chair of the parliament, Laura ensures everything runs smoothly and that everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard.

The People’s Parliament has had great success over the past few years, investigating and demanding improvement in support services, housing, employment, public transport, health equality, the police and the criminal justice system.

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