A day in the life of a Gig Buddies Coordinator

How do we support you and your buddy?

My day always starts with turning on my phone – I usually have some voicemails and texts from various Gig Buddies, often just saying hello or telling me about their day. This always puts a smile on my face, although sometimes I get messages telling me there has been some kind of problem or something worrying. Once I’ve replied to all these messages, making sure everything’s okay, I make some coffee! I am completely addicted to caffeine and can barely concentrate without it, it’s probably my worst habit.

Most days I have emails from different people to deal with. I could have a Gig Buddy pair to contact, to ask what they did together this month, and then I put that information onto a spreadsheet so I can see what everyone is doing. This is always fun, as I get to find out about lots of different gigs and events happening all over East Sussex, but sometimes there will be a problem for me to deal with too. For example, perhaps a pair were supposed to go out together but one of them cancelled and the other one is upset – I need to ring them both to help sort it out and make sure they are both OK.

I also facilitate the Quality Team, a team of people with lived experience of having a learning disability and/or autism living in supported accommodation, who go into other supported houses to see if the lives of the people living there are fulfilled and active. This can involve booking meetings, writing up reports and discussing ideas with the team on how to improve the process. 

Quality checkers laughing and enjoying themself in the office.

What does a coordinator do?

Once a week I have a meeting with the Gig Buddy Coordinators for West Sussex and Brighton & Hove to discuss how to recruit more volunteers, plan our volunteer training and talk to each other about any problems we have had and the best way to solve them.

Another big part of my job is driving around East Sussex to meet people. When a new buddy joins us, I go to meet them in a café near where they live along with a carer, friend or support worker. We talk about what being a Gig Buddy is, and I try to find out what music or events they want to go to as well as any support needs they have. While I’m driving home I think over the meeting, thinking of any volunteers who could match up with the new buddy. I have to consider the buddy’s personality as well as transport and getting around, not just their music taste. This sometimes means it will take longer to find a volunteer, or I might need to think creatively to find a compromise. 

Roughly once a month I have a match meeting. This means I have worked out who I think would be a good gig buddy match, although I don’t always know for sure! Sometimes I match up people with totally opposite personalities and I get a bit nervous that they won’t get along. I never really know until we all meet up for a drink in a pub and the pair can get to know each other a bit. I ask some questions to help work out if the match is good. Like what they want to do together, how much money they want to spend and how they will communicate to arrange meeting up. There’s a lot of information for us to go through, but the main thing is to swap numbers and see if they both get along.

The best thing about the job?

West Sussex Coordinator, Malcolm, says that the best thing about the job is that no two days are the same. His highlight is hearing from buddies about the stuff they’ve been doing and what a great time they’ve been having. Luke, the Coordinator for Brighton & Hove, says the best thing about being a coordinator is facilitating match meetings where buddies finally get to meet each other and start their friendship journey.

And we all agree that being a Coordinator is a fun and rewarding job, whatever the day brings you, as we get to meet some really awesome people and be part of the Gig Buddies community!

If you’ve thought about volunteering but aren’t sure, reach out and give us a message, we are more than happy to help!