Small steps can make massive changes

We’ve heard some amazing stories from our buddies who’ve been invited to their volunteer’s weddings, gone to Glastonbury Festival and even been interviewed live on BBC 5 Live and appeared on the BBC One Show. However, for us whilst these things are amazing we also celebrate in the seemingly small differences our work has made to people.

That’s because these aren’t small differences at all but represent big steps and affect people in all sorts of positive ways; building their confidence, teaching new skills, expanding social networks, making new friends and of course having great times together (often staying up late!).

Here’s some of those stories about the changes being a  Gig Buddy has made to some of the buddies:

(All names changed to preserve anonymity)

Steve – nervous about going out and meeting new people

Steve had never been out with friends and was so nervous about going out and meeting someone new. He had always wanted to visit a castle and his Gig Buddy drove him to Arundel Castle. Was also desperate to go out for a pizza with someone so this was their first meet up!

Bob – trying to find a gay friendly place to socialise

Bob moved to Brighton without knowing anyone because of being subjected to homophobic abuse in his home town. His social worker referred him to Gig Buddies which has become a really important community for him. His buddy, Nigel, goes out with him to his favourite gay bars and to lots of gigs that he otherwise may not have been able to go to.

Colin – only went out with his support worker

Support workers do a great job but it’s not the same as having someone in your life who isn’t paid to be there. Colin only ever went to gigs with his support worker but now he goes to gigs and the cinema with his buddy. They’ve developed a great relationship as a result.

Trish – nobody to go out with

One of the barriers for people with learning disabilities to go out in the evenings is not having anyone to go out with. This was true for Trish who was very isolated and didn’t have any friends to go out with. She’d only ever really been out with her family in the past.

Through going out together Trish and her buddy have made a really great connection. They go rollerblading, go to the cinema and to play mini golf.

Simon – going to gay bars

Simon is a young gay man who has a learning disability. Having a buddy means that Simon gets to go out to gay bars, something that he loves, with his Gig Buddy!