We are also extremely proud to announce that we are teaming up
with the international arts festival, Festival of Voice, to
launch Gig Buddies Cardiff.
Celebrating the voice in all its forms, Festival of Voice takes
place across Cardiff from 7 - 17 June. The festival revealed its
main programme today, including performances by Patti Smith,
Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Angélique Kidjo and Gruf Rhys. We will
reveal more details about our partnership and how it will benefit
our Gig Buddies in the next few weeks.
Breaking down barriers, staying up late
Gig Buddies is a befriending scheme that matches people with a
learning disability with volunteers who share the same interests,
so they can go to gigs together.
It specifically focusses on events that happen in the evenings,
such as concerts, in order to break the many barriers that stop
people with a learning disability going out at night and staying up
These barriers include lack of support, or inflexible support
that forces people to leave events early. Other obstacles include
transport, confidence, safety, and accessibility of venues.
Most importantly, Gig Buddies are free to choose what their
'gig' is and when and where they want to go. A 'gig' can be a
concert, but it can also be a rugby match, a trip to a museum, or
an evening down the pub.
Gig Buddies was first started in Brighton in 2013 by the charity
Stay Up Late, who campaign for
people with a learning disability to live the lifestyle of their
choosing. Gig Buddy projects have since popped up in Croydon,
Portsmouth, Calderdale, Long Eaton, Norwich, East and West Lothian,
and as far as Sydney,
Kai Jones, Communications Officer with Learning Disability
Wales, will lead the project in its first year. Kai said: "Learning
Disability Wales have been working with Stay Up Late for several
years to bring Gig Buddies to Wales. We are extremely thankful to
First Choice Housing for the funding that has made this
"The funding from First Choice will allow Gig Buddies Cardiff to
recruit and match 20 pairs of Gig Buddies. We will support them to
attend one event a month for the next year, plus regular social
meet-ups where we will discuss how the gigs have gone and make
plans for future events."
Adrian Burke, Chief Executive of First Choice Housing said: "At
FCHA we are passionate about ensuring that people with a learning
disability have equal access to homes, services and leisure
activities and we see Gig Buddies as a fantastic opportunity to
help with this. We are hugely excited about the concept of Gig
Buddies and look forward to working with Learning Disability Wales
Learning Disability Wales will also be working to make Gig
Buddies Cardiff sustainable beyond the first year of the project.
Zoe Richards, our Young Person and Carers Manager will lead on this
Zoe said: "It's our hope that the first year of Gig Buddies
Cardiff will be a springboard that leads to other Gig Buddies
projects being started in the rest of Wales. There is already an
excellent Connect Buddies
project, run by Conwy Connect, that serves Conwy and the North
Wales coast. We want to work with local authorities and service
providers so that eventually Gig Buddies is available all over
Wales. Please get in touch if you can help us to make this
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or
phone Kai Jones or Zoe Richards at Learning Disability Wales on 029