Shining Stars go from strength to strength

“Every once in a while a special person emerges. Charlotte Aspley is Lichfield’s special person.” As the booming voice of Lichfield’s Town Crier (AKA Ken Knowles) rang out, the crowd gathered to celebrate the first birthday of Shining Stars smile in admiration in the direction of Charlotte. Charlotte lives with Mosaic Down Syndrome and is the driving force behind the initiative that gives people living with a learning disability the chance to enjoy a night out on the town in a safe and secure environment. Charlotte recognised that there was nowhere for people with a learning disability to go and enjoy a night out with friends so she approached Walkabout in Lichfield and set about raising the funds to make it happen. As well as donations from Tesco and local councillors, Charlotte applied for a £300 grant from YouCan to help get the initiative off the ground. The first Shining Stars @Walkabouts  disco took place in August 2017 with around 20 people enjoying a great time. A year later and that number has swelled to around 90… and I was extremely privileged to be invited to their first birthday party. The party was packed with people enjoying the music and everyone I spoke to was full of praise and admiration for Charlotte. As well as the fabulous Town Crier, we were treated to the presence of the Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor David Leytham and Mayoress, Jan Leytham-Gain, Miss Lichfield, Daz Hale of BBC WM and Rachel White of Signal One. As I chatted to people about Charlotte throughout the evening a word that kept coming up was ‘amazing.’ Laura Bruce and Hannah Norris of Mencap work closely with her and couldn’t sing her praises enough. [...]