Gig Buddies seeking music lovers to volunteer

Gig Buddies at Glastonbury festival
Gig Buddies at Glastonbury festival

A project linking adults with learning disabilities and people with similar tastes in entertainment to go to concerts, festivals and theatre together is looking for more volunteers to join in.

Gig Buddies has already paired more than 90 people in Sussex with a buddy so that they do not miss out on evening social activities.

There is still a long waiting list, however, especially in East Sussex, so the charity is reaching across the border as far as Shoreham in the hopes of signing up more buddies.

Paul Richards, director and co-founder of the charity, said: “We currently hold a long waiting list for individuals with learning disabilities, many of which are socially isolated, so we desperately need to find more volunteers to enable individuals to have a social life.”

The idea of Gig Buddies grew out of Sussex charity Stay Up Late, which started as a national campaign to ensure that people with a learning disability receive support that does not stop at 9pm.

This is because some care homes have inflexible staff rotas, which means many adults with a learning disability cannot access practical support to go out in the evenings.

Mr Richards 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 it is a dream come true and we’re keen for many more people to benefit.”

Gig Buddies attracts people of all ages and all types of musical taste – from heavy metal to musicals, indie to club nights.

Volunteer buddy 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 Down’s syndrome in the world.

For more information, or to volunteer to become a Gig Buddy, visit www.gigbuddies.org.uk