Moon Base- Our First Birthday

By The Black Box

Moon Base is a Black Box project for and by people with Learning Disabilities established with support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Moon Base is open throughout the week with a range of social and arts-based activity. It has been at 65 – 67 Royal Avenue, The Old Irish Linen Shop for one year on the 31st of October!

Here is Seonaid our outreach officer and Moon Base co-ordinator trying to fit in all the amazing things they have done in their first year:

‘If The Black Box is a teenager then we are just about to be a toddler!

It has been the most amazing year of exploring and testing our new space! We were awarded Paul Hamlyn Funding to test out a city centre location for and by people with learning disabilities.

We have been running arts-based activities Monday to Friday and creating all sorts of gorgeous sounds, beautiful visual art, dancing, drama, magic, comedy and outdoor walks and trips! And LOTS of tea and coffee!

Moon Base is run by our Outreach Officer and The Black Box team! We also have a dedicated EVS (European Voluntary Service) Volunteer – in the last year we had Tessa from Germany and our new volunteer Iman from Spain has just started  -Bienvenida!

This year we also recruited six new volunteers who bring their experience, skills and enthusiasm to Moon Base, Black Moon and Mini Moon!

We have so many highlights of the past year – too many to mention them all but here are some: We took part in; Culture Night, Light Up the Road, The St. Patricks day Parade, East Side Arts Festival, Feile an Phobail, Bounce Festival, Full Moon Festival and many more!

We also worked with Grow Wild to have a ‘Rave in a Field’ where we planted wildflower seeds while dancing to live Music and our Black Moon DJ’s – these events happened in Crawfordsburn Country Park and Clandeboye Estate. We also collaborated with The Belfast Hills Partnership for our Black Moon Walks! Which we might add we have never cancelled even when the weather has been bad!

Our Moon Music group went into Half Bap Recording Studios to record their first EP, ‘Moon Waves’ which is amazing! And the group have performed all over Belfast at Festivals and Community Events!

We are really excited for the coming year and have lots of plans! We want to record our second album with Moon Music! So far, the songs are more experimental and a bit more angry–sign of the times?! There is definitely a more Rock edge so far……watch this space!

We would like to produce a collection of the group’s stories, thoughts and experiences – adding in illustrations and photographs. We have begun to record ‘Moon Base Overtures’ which are a collection of jokes and ‘shorts’ from the group at Creating Connections. Recently we launched our ‘Moon Base Manifesto’ and we are working on issue 3 of the Moon Base newsletter, ‘Ground Control.’


At the moment we have a ‘Creating Connections Retrospective’ Exhibition in Moon Base – including work from the group over the last few years – call in and take a look.


Moon Base is a safe, positive environment for people to express themselves through the Arts. We are unique – a neutral, democratic space – come on in – we’ll get the kettle on!


Here are some quotes from the group:

‘I meet different types of people at Moon Base.’ Sarah


‘It’s like when you can dress up in different things. No one is making you feel different.’ Michelle


‘Moon Base is very welcoming and open. It is very relaxing too. I like it very much.’ Pamela


‘Fun approach. More Open. Don’ Feel Judged or Criticised. You are cool.’ Michelle


‘It shortens the week a wee bit. Chatting and being outside.’ Sean – talking about The Black Moon Walk


‘Meeting new people. Good craic. Drama workshop was good. Art. I like that we do so many different things.’ Stephen


‘Meet nice people/make friends with people. We do plenty of colouring and Music.’ Jeffrey

‘It helps us a lot. I get out for two hours every day we come. New people coming in and out. The Music Business comes in!’ Christine

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