Running Funky Llama

Funky Llama Driving Force Update from Chris Burns

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Funky Llama celebrates the creative talents of adults with different abilities. It involves large scale, performing arts and social events as well as increasing the amount of arts opportunities on offer throughout the region. Funky Llama is about raising aspirations, creating opportunities, challenging perceptions and developing a regional and national network of creative activity.

Funky Llama is run by groups of differently abled adults. A Steering Group called ‘Driving Force’ meet fortnightly to plan, advise on access, discuss programming and give feedback. Driving Force member Chris Burns gives us an update on their most recent meeting…

Attending the steering group meeting this week were Michelle, Brendon, Keira, Greig, Colin, Katie, Ryan and Adam, Paul and myself. All of us come to the Steering Group to contribute our thoughts and creative ideas, with a number of us having other roles within the Funky Llama project. Today the Steering Group decided the theme for this year’s club night. Pirates and superheroes were some of the suggestions but the clear winner was the Wild West. So be prepared for a very wild, line-dancing lama coming to town later in the year. This year is the first time the Club Night will be held outside of TR2 in a mainstream venue.

We also had a visitor from the council attend our meeting. The visitor was Ian Tuffin, the portfolio holder for Plymouth’s Adult Social Care. We explained the Funky Llama project to Ian. It was put to him that the project’s aims are to get people with disabilities recognised for their ability rather than the focus being on their disabilities (hence the reason we use the more inclusive term, ‘differently abled’).

Also it was put to him that people need more support so they can have a more fulfilling and healthy social life, by taking part in projects like Funky Llama and staying up late. We have often found at our events that people being supported to attend are subject to the shift pattern of the staff they are there with. This along with the inflexibility of personal budgets was discussed (originally they were designed to be flexible). After a rich and useful discussion with Ian we hope to have some commissioners attending the Steering Group meetings regularly in the future so that they can hear real life stories of differently abled adults living in the city and surrounding area and see the amazing things we get up to at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

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