This week My Life MY Choice is launching a new project called Gig Buddies. Gig Buddies matches up a person who is struggling to get out and about with a volunteer who has similar interests so that they can go out and have fun together.
Gig Buddies can include any kind of fun activity that someone might want to do such as music concerts, sports matches, museums, or the theatre. People will be matched up with volunteers who like to do the same things as them so that they can go out and have a great time doing things together.
The Gig Buddies idea originated in Brighton from a charity called Stay Up Late. The punk band ‘Heavy Load’ started the charity because three of their members had learning disabilities and were fed up of their fans having to leave their gigs early to fit around support staff. They started the Stay Up Late campaign in 2006 and this eventually developed into the Gig Buddies project. There are now several Gig Buddies projects running around the country and My Life My Choice is really pleased to be leading Oxfordshire’s Gig Buddies Programme.
Our approach is different from the other Gig Buddies projects, however, because we have four organisations involved rather than just one. This opens up the great opportunity to have members from the organisations volunteering as buddies. We found that this worked really well in our Travel Buddy project where we have had many people progress from being trained to training others themselves. Through this approach, we hope to break down more walls as well as providing the space for friendships to develop and fun to be had to tackle social exclusion and loneliness.
If you want to get involved with Gig Buddies either as a volunteer or as a beneficiary you can contact Chris at [email protected] or call 01865 204214, or you can find out more information on our website: https://www.mylifemychoice.org.uk/pages/33-gig-buddies