Good Gig Buddies needed
Gig Buddies links people with and without learning disabilities together to enjoy live music and other social activities together. Harri Oliver writes.
Gig Buddies is a project which links adults who have a learning disability to a volunteer who has similar interests in music – or other events – to go out together. The project co-ordinators are currently looking for people who would like to join Gig Buddies in the East Sussex area.
Gig Buddies aims to ensure that people with learning disabilities don’t miss out on evening social activities, such as gigs, clubbing or theatre. The project helps to combat social isolation faced by many people with learning disabilities, by enabling them to make friends with other members of their community who have a similar interest to them.
Through matching people together based on their leisure activities, Gig Buddies hopes to create sustainable and genuine networks for people who may otherwise feel disconnected from their local community.
The project grew out of local Sussex charity, ‘Stay Up Late’, which started as a national campaign to ensure that people with a learning disability receive support that doesn’t stop at 9pm. Some care homes have inflexible staff rotas, which mean that many adults with a learning disability can’t access practical support to go out in the evenings.
The project has already linked over 90 people in Sussex to a volunteer Gig Buddy. Gig Buddies attracts people of all ages and all types of musical taste – from heavy metal to musicals, indie to club nights. One Gig Buddy volunteer, Sam said: “Through volunteering with Gig Buddies I have met amazing people, made some great friends and shared some brilliant experiences.”
Gig Buddies has some amazing people involved in the project, such as the only qualified ping pong coach with Downs Syndrome in the world. Through recruiting in East Sussex and Hastings in particular, we hope to meet more amazing people to join the Gig Buddies project.
Paul Richards, director and co-founder of the charity said: ‘The charity was set up as a response to seeing people with learning disabilities being denied the sort of social opportunities that many of us take for granted. To see how the project has now grown – with so many people benefitting – is a dream come true and we’re keen for many more people to benefit.”
For more information, see their website: www.stayuplate.org
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