Gig Buddies Safety Information – what you need to know!
You may have read Pauls recent blog post “inclusive Club Nights – What are the risks?”. As always, Paul made some important points about the perceived risks of ‘mainstream club nights’ and the impact that ‘inclusive club nights’ can have in stifling the progress towards genuine integration in nightlife.
Late night clubbing, after hours gigging, festivals, big venues, partying, busy environments, and new experiences. These are often things that get associated with Gig Buddies and we know from support staff, carers and participants that these types of activities are often perceived as risky.
In Pauls blog post he mentioned that as a staff team it has become second nature to say “yes” to an idea and then immediately set about making a plan in order to manage any risks. We do this as we recognise that we have a duty of care to the participants, volunteers and ourselves. Although the risks and necessary safety measures to avoid these can differ depending on the situation and person it is this duty of care underpins much of the work we do as a staff team.
From recently asking support staff and unpaid careers we have learnt they would like us to talk about our safety precautions and practises more. We would therefore like to share the ways in which we aim keep gig buddies safe.
HOW DO WE MAKE SURE GIG BUDDY VOLUNTEERS ARE SAFE TO VOLUNTEER?
* Either Kate, Harri or Victoria will always meet our volunteers face to face or over Skype, if requested, for an initial interview. This allows us to fully understand their reasons for volunteering, their relevant experience and their understanding of the role. This helps us to appropriately match them to participants on the project.
*When a volunteer applies for the position then must provide the details of two references, one personal and one professional.
* Volunteers have an enhanced DBS check, which is designed to ensure that no-one who has their name on the DBS Adults First list or the Children’s Barred List works with those groups.
* Gig Buddies staff carry out a full days training with the volunteers. The training covers safeguarding, boundaries, the ethos of the project and communication. Although it does not count as an official safeguarding qualification we believe it provides enough information for our volunteers to identify a potential safeguarding issue, what the need to do to raise an alert and what is legally expected of them.
* Volunteers are asked to sign a code of conduct form. This sets out what is expected of them and makes them accountable for their actions.
HOW ARE GIG BUDDY PARTICIPANTS KEPT SAFE?
* Only trained and checked volunteers are matched to participants.
* Participants receive support via phone check-ins .
* A participants family member or support are invited to the match meetings, so they can provide us with any information additional support information. Having a familiar person present will, hopefully, create a relaxed and safe environment for the participant.
*Volunteers are given emergency contact details, medical history and information so they can support the participant correctly.
HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS KEPT SAFE?
*Staff are available over the phone or in person during regular office hours.
* Volunteers are provided with support and offered regular supervisions.
* Volunteers are provided with information on good venues which Gig Buddies has links with.
*Volunteers are given training on what to do if they feel unsafe or what to do in an emergency.
* If it is deemed necessary by the staff team or if the volunteer requests Gig Buddies can provide specialist training. For example, epilepsy training.
* Volunteers are made aware of any administrative tasks they may need to keep safe. For example, notifying their car insurance companies that they will be using their car when they are volunteering.
GIG BUDDIES PROJECT’S CONTINUED DUTY OF CARE
* Monthly socials take places across Sussex and are staffed by the gig Buddies team. The socials are a safe place for gig buddies socialise together and gig buddy staff can often help with transport too and from socials.
* Gig Buddies employs, Victoria. She is the projects quality checker and also has a learning disability. She is able to provide the team with important information on safety due to her lived experiences of having a learning disability and living in support housing. She also provides peer check-ins for participants on the project.
* We have a board of trustees and a complaints procedure that can be found on Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies website. Any concerns about safety or staff can be raised to the board of trustees through this process.
* ‘The Red Button’. A red button on the home screen, which you can click, has recently been installed. If you click it, it sends a message directly to Gig Buddy staff notifying them that there is a Gig Buddies related issue that you need some help with.
* We are a small team and we have our limitations. As is all too often the case, many people with learning disabilities are socially isolated. This can have a negative knock on effect for peoples mental health and self-esteem.
We recognise that as a project we can elevate these issues by creating social networks and providing social opportunities. We are not an advocacy organisation and so we can only sign-posting people to other services that offer professional help.
*We are not open 24hours, 7 days a week. This means there will be times where the staff team cant be contacted. Both participant and volunteers are told about this when they join the project and are given information on what to do in these circumstances.
If you would like to speak to a member of the team about safety then please ring the office on 01273 600438 or email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org