Gig Buddies Blog

Gig Buddies review of the year – 2019

It’s been another fantastic year for us on the Gig Buddies project and here’s just some of our highlights. There’s loads more from our other work at the charity here too on the Stay Up Late website.


We have launched an advisory group in East and West Sussex alongside our Brighton and Hove one so that more people with learning disabilities have the chance to share their ideas for our charity. The East Sussex group have called themselves the Wise Owls because they want to share their wisdom of lived experience and Owls stay up late!

Our advisory groups

Specific work with our advisory groups includes a focus group discussing barriers for people with learning disabilities finding love and relationships, planning for our UnOrdinary conference and a series of poetry/rap workshops inspired by the Stay Up Late manifesto with local spoken word artist Eben’ Flo.

The Wild Rainbows LGBTQ+ group have continued to develop for another year. They have been invited to work with a national company called ‘Photosymbols’ to create a storyline of images for easy read documents that are more diverse to represent LGBTQ+ people, and Brighton Pride organisers have invited the group to be part of a lived experience workshop for our participants with disabilities to inform them how to make Pride more accessible.

Our Wild Rainbows group also hosted a chat show style presentation at our charity AGM to talk about our work.

Quality checking our work

Victoria has continue to work on her surveys to find out from participants points of view how their experience of the project is.

  • 90% of participants said they enjoyed having a gig buddy.
  • 85% said they see them as a friend.
  • 71% said they had made other friends from going out with their gig buddy.

Here are some of our favourite quotes from participants.

“Sam is brilliant and I went to her wedding.”

“Claire is amazing I cant fault her one little bit!”

“Graham is great and I get on with him well. We chat a lot and have things like music in common to talk about.”

“I have loved every moment of freedom. They make me feel part of a friendly atmosphere.”

Some facts and figures

Gig Buddies coordinators have worked hard at staying up late all year round providing 35 socials across Sussex ranging from open mic nights, cinema, theatre, and other live music events.

We have trained 72 volunteers at 10 training session.

And matched 40 new pairs of buddies including 5 cross overs with Gig buddies for Good mental Health.

We marched in Brighton Pride, supported 5 buddies to Glastonbury and have talked at many local and national events about our work.

East Sussex

Being without a dedicated East Sussex Coordinator for most of the year has been a challenge for the team and the volunteers and participants of East Sussex however we have held the project as best we can still matching and running 9 socials for participants of the project.

The Gig Buddies Community

It’s been fantastic to see the community of Gig Buddies projects growing too. We now have 14 partners running the project across the UK and in Australia. Every week we get asked by more and more people about getting it going in their area too. It’s also been fantastic to see our partners getting mentions too and clearly making an impact.

Innovations in Community Centred Support

We were delighted to become part of TLAP and SCIE’s Innovations Network and to be included in their Innovations in Community Centred Support directory. There’s some great models of innovative support being demonstrated too, do give it a read.

Looking ahead

In the new year we will review our work and look for ways to improve supporting our existing 95 pairs of active gig buddies. We will induct our new team members and continue the work of gig buddies to support more people with learning disabilities to lead active social lives and feel part of their community.

Thank you all for another great year and we’re looking forward to more late night behaviour with everyone next year when we’ll be working on bringing you a brand new website to better tell you about our work.