About Gig Buddies – for social work teams and professionals

What is Gig Buddies?

Gig Buddies is a volunteer befriending scheme for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. The project matches up socially isolated people with a volunteer who shares the same passions and interests as they do. We use this hook to hopefully enable an ongoing friendship to flourish.

What age group do you work with?

We work with any adults 18 and over. There is no upper age limit.

Who the scheme is aimed at

Our vision is to enable people with learning disabilities and/or autism to lead active social lives. We are aware that funding cuts to local authority budgets is making this harder and harder for people so we’re particularly interested in enabling those people who have little or no funded support hours to enjoy social activities.

Our funding enables us to support anyone living in East or West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

How we help people stay safe

Gig Buddies is all about enabling people to attend mainstream cultural activities in their community but our experience is that this is a really safe thing to do with the right planning and safeguards.

All volunteers are interviewed and we conduct police checks (DBS) too.

Volunteers also receive a day of training which covers areas such as safeguarding and dealing with unexpected situations as well as an overview of supporting people with learning disabilities, and autism, and our approach as a charity.

We also conduct individual risk assessments based around an individuals’ own support needs and all volunteers are offered ongoing support if difficulties arise in any way around their buddying relationship.

How to refer someone to us

If you know someone who would benefit from having a Gig Buddy volunteer you can either support them to complete the form on this page or give us a call on 01273 600438.

Is it all just about music?

Gig Buddies is not just about music. It’s whatever an individuals’ ‘gig’ is – whether that’s punk, ballet, nature walks, theatre, museums, musicals or clubbing.

It’s about enabling people with learning disabilities and/or autism to lead the life they want, and to have people in their lives who aren’t paid to be there.

Read our evaluation

Research in Practice for Adults conducted an independent evaluation of our Gig Buddies project to see how effective it was against our intended outcomes.

You can read more about the real impact it’s been making here.

Our full FAQs

To read our full FAQs please click here