Gig Buddies – Alleviating Loneliness One Gig At A Time


What is Gig Buddies?

Gig Buddies is a project by the charity Stay Up Late dedicated to helping people with learning disabilities overcome loneliness and live the lives they want.

We pair them with a volunteer who shares their interests, which may be music, sport, culture, eating out, being in nature or anything they choose. Our belief is that the answers to most of our problems lie in our communities and Gig Buddies works to unleash that community spirit.

Since starting Gig Buddies in 2013 there are now over 20 projects in eight countries (including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.) Find out where they all are here Gig Buddies In Other Places.

We don’t organise separate events for people with learning disabilities, instead we link people into existing activities and live events. That can be parkruns for runners or club nights for ravers. The range of events the buddies go to are endless. From local open mics to massive music festivals, from unknown singers in tiny venues through to worldwide megastars in stadiums.

Our mission focuses on creating fun and engaging experiences that foster genuine friendships and community involvement.

We believe that everyone should have people in their lives who aren’t paid to be there, people who are friends and enjoying hanging out together. That’s what Gig Buddies is all about.


How Does Gig Buddies Work?

People with learning disabilities, and autistic people, are matched with a volunteer and they then decide together what they’re going to get up to.

Volunteers receive training and ongoing support.


The core principles of Gig Buddies



Culture: Enjoying new experiences and passions together.

‘A gig’ is whatever your ‘gig’ is.

Leadership: People with learning disabilities being able to decide how to lead their lives without being told what time to go to bed.

Community Life: Being actively involved and feeling safe and welcome in the community.

Friendship: Building lasting friendships with people who love spending time with you, and share the same interests.

Join us to make a positive impact and join our community of Gig Buddies, changing things for the better, one gig at a time.


Culture: Enjoying new experiences and passions together.

‘A gig’ is whatever your ‘gig’ is.