A charity which operates across South Wales is looking for volunteers to join their team.
Gig Buddies, run by Learning Disability Wales, is a befriending scheme that matches people with a learning disability and/or autism with a volunteer who shares the same interests, so they can go to gigs and events together.
The project is available in Bridgend, Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Merthyr Tydfil.
It’s also available in North Wales.
Before the pandemic being a ‘Gig Buddy’ volunteer involved befriending an adult with a learning disability and/or autism and attending events once a month.
As there are no events taking place at the moment, the charity has been hosting virtual parties and events on zoom since March last year.
Project co-ordinator, Kai Jones, from Cardiff, said how important it was for the project to keep running throughout the pandemic.
“Even though we’re called ‘Gig Buddies,’ having just a buddy is more important than ever because people are now more at risk of loneliness.”
There’s also support in place for those who may struggle to get online, so nobody misses out.
To avoid people feeling isolated during this strange time, Gig Buddies are running their virtual events weekly instead of monthly. These events include afternoon tea, bingo and karaoke.
Since the project began, it’s expanded all across the UK and has even made it as far as Australia.
Kai also said it was important for everyone involved in the project to feel connect no matter where they are, which is why they’ve already hosted two worldwide virtual festivals.
But adapting to the pandemic hasn’t been easy for them as their team only works part time and there isn’t a lot of them.
“Our other teams across the UK work full time but our team currently only work part time, so it’s been really difficult to plan everything and try and fit it all in.
“It helps that everyone on the team is really passionate.”
The most difficult thing Gig Buddies has found during the pandemic is they don’t have enough volunteers.
In the Vale of Glamorgan alone, there are around a dozen adults waiting for a Gig Buddy.