Gig Buddies supports socially isolated people with learning disabilities and/or autism to be active in their communities by matching them with a volunteer who loves the same music as they do (or any other cultural activity). It's all about developing friendships through the love of the same thing.
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Many people with learning disabilities and/or autism find it difficult to be active in their communities especially in the evening.
Contributing factors are:
- Not having enough funded support hours
- Worrying about keeping safe in the community
- Not having the confidence or motivation to go out
- Having nobody to go with
- Not having accessible information about what’s on
- Needing support with transport
This has a detrimental effect on their physical and mental well-being.
Gig Buddies matches up socially isolated people with learning disabilities and/or autism with a volunteer who shares the same cultural interests.
All volunteers are vetted and trained, and have a full criminal record check before being matched with their 'buddy'. The aim is to use the shared interest as a hook on which to develop an on-going friendship so the socially isolated person can develop their informal support networks and friendships as well as developing confidence in the community.
That people with learning disabilities are less lonely and have more friends.
Activities» By matching them with a volunteer who can develop a one to one friendship with them, based around a mutual interest.
All participants are asked a series of questions about how isolated they feel at the start and during the project. Participants are also involved in feeding back in various ways.
That people with learning disabilities are empowered to make more choices about how they live
Activities» By ensuring that the project runs in a way in which the choices of participants are upheld, and to also support people to have new experiences.
We also ask participants to reflect on how they feel about making choices in their lives at the outset of working with us and how this has changed through their buddying.
That communities become more inclusive.
Activities» Participants will be able to access mainstream cultural activities enabling them to connect with people in their community of interest, and locality.
Volunteers are asked at the outset if they have any friends with a learning disability (the majority don't) and then asking them to reflect in their buddying relationship.
Our aim is that people with learning disabilities and/or autism will be much more visible, and involved, in mainstream cultural events. There are many 'inclusive events' for people with learning disabilities but our view is that all events should be for people with learning disabilities.
We also want people to feel much more empowered about how they choose to spend their time.
We will be able to demonstrate this through the number of participants actively attending events, and choosing these.
We work with people who are regarded as 'adults at risk' due to their disability. The main risks to our success are people being at risk of harm, or abuse.
We deal with this by:
- Interviewing all volunteers
- Conducting full criminal record checks
- Insisting that all volunteers attend a training day which covers safeguarding.
- Providing all volunteers with ongoing support to ensure that any specific issues are dealt with.
- Enabling all participants to raise any concerns with us.
We will report on our progress in a number of ways:
- We will publish an evaluation report of our progress
- We will publish regular updates on the project through our website and social media.
- We will send individual updates to specific donors via email with our progress.
Budget - Project Cost: £5,000Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £3,000 Staff costs Employing project co-ordinator to recruit and support matching of buddies £1,000 Volunteer expenses Reimbursing costs for tickets and travel for events. £1,000 Admin General admin and office costs to run the project.
Current Funding / Pledges
Source Amount Brighton and Hove City Council £21,000 Guaranteed
The project will be based in Brighton and Hove, covering any adults with learning disabilities and/or autism who live in the city.
Adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. Ideally we will target those people who receive little or no funded support as this group of people are at the greatest risk from social isolation.
We will do this by working with carers groups, social work teams, support providers and groups.
We started the Gig Buddies project on a small scale in Brighton and Hove 4 1/2 years ago and have since developed it to cover Sussex.
In this time we have learned a lot about the best way to run a project of this nature and are now supporting organisations in other parts of the country to replicate our work in their area.
We have also developed a reputation for innovative and impactful work which aims to put people with learning disabilities at the centre of everything that we do.
Read more about the Charity running this project.