Starting university this week is an exciting time for many young people and there are so many new experiences to be had. Volunteering may not be high up on the list when they are soaking up freshers week antics.
However once freshers week is over and the real settling in begins, many students being in a new town may be able to relate to some of the barriers that are impacting on our participants who need a gig buddy- not knowing what’s on in their community, not having someone to go with who has the same taste in music, not knowing about transport in the area, lack of motivation or confidence.
Gig Buddies offers the opportunity for a new student and a local person in their community who has a learning disability to work these things out together – as well as instantly connect in a community, get free tickets to events and explore the new town you live in! Yes, free tickets we said.
We ask all of our volunteers to commit for at least a year and sometimes students worry about not knowing where they will be during the summer months – but being honest about this in advance means we can plan ahead and support their buddy by supporting them to socials in July and August or keeping in touch with them and sometimes finding them another pair of buddies to attend a gig with during that time. Some buddies build up so much confidence over the year with the support of a gig buddy volunteer they may even feel able to attend socials independently by that time.
So please share this with any students in your life who may be looking for a meaningful way to engage in their new community, whilst seeing new music and developing skills in learning about the different way people communicate and see the world.
Although we welcome students with open arms a lot of people think Gig buddies is just for young people. In fact there is no upper age limit – just like at university!
Gig buddies projects exist in the current university towns of Brighton, Bradford, Calderdale, Cardiff, Croydon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Oxford,
Portsmouth, Sheffield and Sydney! Australia. More coming soon!