Gig Buddies Blog

Volunteer as a Gig Buddy

Volunteer as a Gig Buddy

At this time of year, many of us start thinking about different ways to spend our time, try something new or become a volunteer.

Volunteering, or giving up our time for free to contribute to our community, is an idea as old as the hills. It’s how communities have always functioned and is a crucial part of people’s lives.

Imagine if you are a person with a learning disability who doesn’t have the support to get out and be part of everyday night-time activities like gigs, or to play football, or going for a walk in the countryside. Being unable to be part of everyday community life is a widespread issue, and our project seeks to end social isolation for people with learning disabilities in a very practical way.

Imagine New Year’s eve without the late night

In this short video, Sas and Harri discuss life for many people with learning disabilities.

'New Years Eve when you didn't get to Stay Up Late'

A different way of volunteering

We don’t claim to have invented befriending but being a Gig Buddy (or Sports Buddy) volunteer IS different because you’re turning something you love doing into a volunteering opportunity. You’re sharing your time, enjoying a hobby and hopefully making a great new friend all at the same time.

“I would encourage anyone to become a gig buddy. Music is for everyone!” (volunteer)

Share your passions

You’ll be matched up with someone with a learning disability (a participant) who shares the same passions and interests, giving you a strong common ground to connect over.

We believe that events and activities should be accessible to everyone. Being someone’s buddy means you can enable them to enjoy that too.

Volunteering made easier

As a volunteer, you will need to commit to attending at least one gig a month and seeing your buddy for a coffee or catch-up too, but volunteers have easily managed to fit that around their social lives before.

You’ll be enabling someone to go to a gig or event that you’ll also enjoy. What a win, win!

What’s the definition of a Gig?

Our work is all about enabling people with learning disabilities to live the life they want. So our definition of a gig is very loose. It’s whatever your ‘gig’ is. That can be punk (of course), but it could be going to the theatre, clubbing, going to pub quizzes, walking on the downs, or playing football.

What’s the difference between being a Gig Buddy or a Sports Buddy?

Both roles are very similar. The only difference is that if you’re enabling someone to get involved in sports or physical activity, we ask that you go out with your buddy at least once a fortnight to allow them to keep the exercise up.

Of course, there are cross-over activities where we don’t know if they’re a gig or a sport, such as clubbing, rambling or Morris dancing.

Luckily, it doesn’t matter much anyway, the most important is you both enjoy yourselves and embrace new opportunities!

“You have no idea how much it means to me that you paired us up! This has been the first of many years where Charlie has to put up with my dad jokes and dad dancing!” Vince, Volunteer

What makes the ideal volunteer?

Our volunteers reflect our participants, diverse and unique in their own ways. As such, we have a diverse mix of volunteers, people from different backgrounds, ages, genders, sexualities and, of course, who have widely different cultural tastes. We encourage people from all different walks of life to embrace the Buddy life.

So what do we look for in our volunteers?

You need to be flexible and organised, but above that, we really value people who are nice. It’s as simple as that.

You need to be patient, adaptable and understanding and appreciate that you won’t always do what you might have planned, but in being someone’s buddy, you’re enabling them to do things they would otherwise never be able to do.

Volunteer now

Sign up now to become a Gig Buddy or Sports Buddy volunteer.

We’ll get in touch to arrange a quick chat and explain the next steps.

Please follow and like us:
author avatar
Paul Richards