Gig Buddies links adults who have a learning disability to a volunteer who enjoys similar music for nights out.
The project which aims to ensure that people with learning disabilities don’t miss out on evening social activities, is on the hunt for volunteers to go out to gigs, theatre and nightclubs.
Gig Buddies helps to combat social isolation faced by many people with learning disabilities, by enabling people with a learning disability to make friends with other members of their community who have a similar interest to them.
The project has already linked more than 70 people in Sussex with 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.
Eastbourne man Tim Cobb, was matched with Robert in 2016 and they enjoy music, cinema and theatre together.
Tim said, “Robert has a great personality and we always have fun. It’s a privilege to spend time with him – he makes me see life differently.
“It’s a great charity.”
Darren Johnson moved to Hastings three years ago and wanted to volunteer. He saw an article about Gig Buddies in the paper and knew it would be something he would enjoy.
He was matched with Glenn and the pair of them go to gigs and events a couple of times a month in the Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne area.
Darren said, “It is rewarding to see how Glenn’s confidence has grown.
“It is very worthwhile. We always have lots of fun and a great night out.”
Paul Richards, director and co-founder of Gig Buddies, 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 from is a dream come true and we’re keen for many more people to benefit.”
Think you could volunteer? Here is what Gig Buddies is looking for:
•Able to help a person with a learning disability to make decisions about what kind of events they’d like to go to.
•Able to commit to a day of training, and then to meet up with the person that you are matched to twice a month.
•Friendly and kind, with a good sense of humour.
•Willing to get to know somebody well, and to have a good gig buddying relationship with them.
• Help ensure people with learning disabilities live active social lives and make their own choices about how they live.
•Be proactive and reliable.
•The charity usually asks for volunteers to be around for at least a year.
To become a gig buddy visit www.gigbuddies.org.uk.