Gig Buddies is a volunteer befriending project that enables people with learning disabilities and autistic people to enjoy mainstream culture with a volunteer buddy. The aim is to use this shared interest to build an ongoing friendship and reduce social isolation.
Many people with learning disabilities and autistic people find it challenging to be active in their communities, especially in the evening. Contributing factors are: - Not having enough funded support hours - Worrying about keeping safe in the community - Not having the confidence or motivation to go out - Having nobody to go with - Not having accessible information about what's on - Needing support with transport These issues have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental well-being.
Gig Buddies matches up socially isolated people with learning disabilities with a volunteer who shares the same cultural interests. They then choose whatever they want to go and see together as friends. All volunteers are vetted and trained and have a full criminal record check before being matched with their buddy. This enables any cultural activity (gig, theatre, sports match, countryside walk etc.) to become a buddying opportunity benefiting both parties and fostering ongoing friendships.