Gig Buddies, an innovative Sussex project, is giving people with learning disabilities the chance to go to music gigs in the evenings. Rather than miss out on music – either completely because of lack of a support worker, or partially because that support finishes early – people with learning disabilities can now stay until the end of a show with their trained “gig buddy” in tow.
Paul Richards, 43, former bass player for Heavy Load which includes members with learning difficulties, is the founder. “We found it frustrating when some of our fans had to leave gigs early,” he explained. “The whole idea of this was to do something about that.”
Richards started an awareness campaign, Stay Up Late, in 2006 and the organisation became a registered charity in December 2011. Gig Buddies is one result. “Heavy Load had been 15 years of anarchy and mayhem. In the week we quit, I got a letter saying we’d won funding for the Gig Buddies project.” he said.
The charity received a £2,000 award from City Camp, and together with £5,000 from Southdown Housing Association, £11,300 from Brighton and Hove city council and £9,000 from the Sussex community, Gig Buddies is now firmly established.
Source: News Now/The Guardian
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