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Mencap Gig Buddies

Mencap Gig Buddies logo

What is Gig Buddies?
Gig Buddies is a volunteer befriending project for adults with learning disabilities, matching them with a volunteer who shares similar interests. We recognise that a lot of people with learning disabilities (PWLD) don’t have many people in their lives who aren’t paid to be there or friends who are based around a genuine shared interest.
The project was founded by Stay Up Late and aims to support PWLD to develop new social circles and informal support networks as well as have more choice over how they spend their spare time.
Tell me more about Gig Buddies in my area:
This site is possible thanks to funding awarded by the Co-op Foundation as part of the #iwill fund in Hull, combined with some Mencap legacy funding in Bridlington and Driffield. A local Coordinator will be based across these areas and will deliver the project for 2 years.

Who is the scheme aimed at?
The project is for people with a learning disability, see Mencap’s definition on our website.
Anyone fitting this criteria one can get involved but we’re particularly interested in working with those people who get little, or no, funded support as there is a risk that this group of people will be most at risk from social isolation. Volunteers of all backgrounds are welcome.
What age group is the project for?
Due to the youth focus of the #iwill fund the Hull site will be specifically targeting 18-20 year olds. In Bridlington & Driffield the age range will be predominately 18-35, this is because Mencap want to reach the ‘next generation’ of PWLD and support them to have friendships and connections.
How does it work?
A local Coordinator is responsible for the promotion of the project and recruitment of volunteers and PWLD. They provide all the resources, checks and training before making gig buddies pairings based on their knowledge of the participants and their shared interests. The Coordinator will facilitate a matching meeting to introduce pairs and help to discuss