Looking back at Gig Buddies in lockdown and looking forward
It was truly impressive to see how our team here at the charity reacted to the incredible challenges we all faced when we went into lockdown. Instead of saying “what’s the point of Gig Buddies if there’s no gigs to go to anymore?” we all said “right what’s the actual purpose of our charity and how can do that in a lockdown?”
Of course the true purpose is all about creating connections for people with learning disabilities and nurturing those connections to create long-term friendships.
We also managed to recruit a lot more volunteers than we expected too. (Recruiting volunteers through lockdown).
Despite all the challenges though the team did an absolutely cracking job of keeping people connected and keeping the fun and music happening as best as we could.
Our ambassadors group (a group of campaigners with learning disabilities from around the UK) have said that they are worried that the lockdown may have set people with learning disabilities back decades in terms of being able to lead active social lives and that is something we’re keen to make a focus of our work now.
We know that the pandemic has really set disabled people back and the Office for National Statistics recently found that twice as many disabled people (40%) reported feeling lonely than non-disabled people (18%).
18% of disabled people felt life would never return to normal and 11% of non-disabled people also felt this.
We’ve also been hearing from lots of people that they have lost the confidence to go out and do the things they used to, or that their support staff or family carers are also concerned about them keeping safe.
So we’ll be talking more with the ambassadors and the advisory groups about what could be done about this. They’ve already given us some good ideas and we’ll be hoping to build on these over the coming months and share these.