Gig Buddies – 10 things that makes it special!

10 things that we think makes Gig Buddies special

At our Annual General Meeting last year we had a conversation about how we might share our Gig Buddies project, and if we did, what are the things we need to make sure are replicated well. These are the things that our participants, volunteers, participants families and trustees said:

1) Friendships

Gig Buddies is about enabling people to develop meaningful friendships based on mutual interests- this is at the centre of everything that we do.


2) User-led

Gig Buddies is committed to enabling the people it supports to take on active roles in how it is run. As leaders and advisors, their input and feedback is crucial in shaping the project. Having an established advisory group and strong links between our participants and governance structures is something we are really proud of. Our group named themselves the Storm and Thunder Team.


3) Social Model

Gig Buddies shows the social model of disability in action. We don’t just campaign about certain issues, we practice what we preach!

4) Having presence

Gig Buddies works to create a real and active presence in the local community. We organise and encourage our Buddies to attend community events- it is this mainstream social element that is our primary concern- fundraising will always be secondary to this.

5) Creating community

Gig Buddies is all about creating a community in itself. Organising regular social meet-ups to connect participants and volunteers, and encouraging Gig Buddy pairs to arrange to go to events independently, makes this happen.


6) It’s social

Through social media, we keep in touch with participants and volunteers, and share our work with the wider society. We connect with promoters, venues and acts, and in branching out to them and including them in what we do, extend the scope and influence of Gig Buddies into something bigger and better, and ever-growing.

7) It starts with music

Gig Buddies may not be 100% about music, but music is what we grew from, and continue to be based around, so it will always be a massive part of what we do.

8) It’s personal

For every one of our dedicated members of staff, the Gig Buddies project is more than just a job. We know that it is personal, and that’s why we try our hardest to get to know everyone on the scheme.


9) It’s local

Gig Buddies takes into account the problems and barriers faced by people living in the community, and goes from there. We respond to local need, but are not a replacement for other support networks. We understand the value of networking with other groups.

10) Upholding the values of Stay Up Late

One thing we never forget in    the work that we do is our core aim: it is about enabling people with learning disabilities to be able to lead the lifestyle that they choose. 

We don’t run Gig Buddies because we want to look cool. We do it because it’s a practical way to tackle social isolation for people with learning disabilities and autism. That is our motivation.

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