Gig Buddies: The Fun Way to Volunteer and Make New Friends

Gig Buddies is all about enabling people with learning disabilities to lead the life they want.

We match people up with a volunteer who shares the same cultural tastes so they can go to mainstream events as friends.

Our charity, Stay Up Late, started Gig Buddies in Sussex in 2013 and since then we’ve supported organisations across the UK and in Australia to run their own versions of the project under licence and be part of the community of people enabling people with learning disabilities to Stay Up Late!

Anyone can be a Gig Buddy

Gig Buddies is volunteering made easy. Become a Gig Buddy today and join us in having a great time.
Gig Buddies matches up socially isolated people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people with a volunteer who shares the same interests.
Gig Buddies is NOT about providing free support or replacing statutory services
It's about enabling people with learning disabilities to have people in their lives who aren't paid to be there
It’s all about being part of you community
 
Gig Buddies is all about making use of what’s already going on in your community and using this as a way to create connection.
Whether that’s going to gigs, parkruns, dining out, nature walks, or anything elsee you fancy.
Scroll down the page

Our core principles

(What makes it Gig Buddies)

Get involved

Do you have time to share your passions and interests with someone with a learning disability?

Then sign up as a volunteer and join in the fun.

Don’t live in Sussex? Have a look at where Gig Buddies is in other areas.

Gig Buddies in other places

Stay Up Late logo on pin badge

 

Create Gig Buddies in your area

We’re always happy to talk more with organisations and local authorities about how they can set up Gig Buddies in their area.

Drop us a line and we’ll arrange to have a chat with you and explain how it works and join our movement to enable more people with learning disabilities to Stay Up Late.

(You can also read more about how we share it here).

It's all about friendships

We are NOT about providing free support or replacing statutory services.

It’s about enabling people with learning disabilities to have people in their lives who aren’t paid to be there.

Through matching people up with a volunteer who commits to at least one gig per month we are able to show:

Credits: Hani Fauzia Ramadhani & Nada Ibrahim Saleh

Gig Buddy volunteers make a difference

Through matching people up with a volunteer who commits to at least one gig per month our evaluation shows:

86%said they see their Gig Buddy as their friend
82%said they felt really able to make decisions about what they wanted to do with their buddy
76%said they’re more aware of other ways they can now spend their spare time
79%said they now go out more in the evenings as a result of Gig Buddies (not just with their buddy)
90%said that having a Gig Buddy makes them feel less lonely
78%said they’d made new friends in addition to their Gig Buddy volunteer

From the blogs

Two people dancing together on a dance floor with other people around them.
4 January 2023

Volunteer as a Gig Buddy

Paul Richards See Full Bio
Two Gig Buddies sitting down smiling, one with arm around the other
25 November 2022

New Gig Buddies matches

Paul Richards See Full Bio
26 August 2021

Sports Buddies launches

Paul Richards See Full Bio

Gig Buddies in other places

If you want to find out if there’s a Gig Buddies project near you please see this page.

Gig Buddies in Other Places

Gig Buddies in a Box

getting your licence to set up the project near you

If you want to find out about setting up Gig Buddies in your area then please do get in touch.

We’d love to speak with you more about this and can support you to get things going. There’s more information on this page on our main charity website.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Join our conversation

#gigbuddies