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Gig Buddies

A Local Project For The Musically Minded

Written By Harri Oliver

Do you love going to gigs? Do you love going to gigs for FREE? Do you love sharing music with other people?

If you answered yes to any of the above then read on because Gig Buddies is the project for you!

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.

You can expect to go out once a month with your gig buddy for a few hours.

The project 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. 

For example, seeing your favourite band, hanging out with your mates and going to festivals. 

Can you imagine never having been to see live music? For many people who have learning disabilities this is a reality as a result of  inflexible support hours and rotas.

Through matching people with and without learning disabilities together the project creates important community links that may otherwise not exist. 

The project was been established 4 years ago and since then has spread across the UK and even to Sydney, Australia.

There is growing movement of people who understand that social opportunities shouldn’t be a privilege but a right for everyone, irrespective of ability. 

Since the project has started over 90 gig buddy pairs have been created, 50 gig buddies have been supported to attend festivals - including 21 people to Glastonbury Festival and thousands of volunteering hours have been given.

However, the project still has over 120 people to match to a volunteer across Sussex and so the project co-ordinators are looking for new musically minded volunteers to join the project, especially in Hastings. 

Gig Buddies provides you with a days training to ensure you are fully prepared to go out and have fun with your gig buddy.

They also carry out police checks, reimburse your expenses and provide support and supervisions throughout your time with them. 

 

Editor: We became aware of the Gig Buddies idea a couple of years ago and were planning a feature about their work in The Stinger magazine, but due to the demise of the published edition this never happened.

Thankfully we can now put that right, albeit in an online version.

We think the Gig Buddies scheme is a great idea, and I hope the people of Hastings will get behind it. As Harri says above, Gig Buddies are looking for volunteers in our area.

See below for details about how you can get involved.

If you think you would like to go out and see more music or attend social events with people from your community then please apply online at: gigbuddies.org.uk 

Or contact Harri Oliver via email at: harri@stayuplate.org

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