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How long is a piece of string VII

It’s midyear report time.


We’ve produced half yearly reports every year since we started in 2015. They outline some of the challenges we face when it comes to pairing up people, focussing on our imbalance of volunteers to gig buddies - and the geographical issues Sydney and the Central Coast can present.


To highlight our point, we’ve created a map of Sydney and the Central Coast region, showcasing where we sit in terms of numbers (all data correct as of Tuesday 12 July).

As highlighted by the maps, we have an abundance of unmatched volunteers based within the CBD, Inner West and Eastern Suburbs, while the Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs, South West and Central Coast regions represent the areas with the highest number of unpaired buddies.

Based on current data, within both Sydney and the Central Coast regions we have a total of 227 buddies and 566 volunteers on our books. Of those numbers, we currently have 151 pairs; 76 buddies and 418 volunteers are still waiting to be matched.


Conversely, last year’s report indicated we had a total of 540 volunteers and 219 buddies on our database. Of those numbers, 151 were paired up, resulting in a total 68 buddies and 389 volunteers without a match.

 

What we need


We’re eager to get more volunteers paired up, and we’re calling on our current participants to recommend our services to anyone they know who has a mild to moderate learning disability and/or autism.


Nothing has changed when it comes to our approach: in addition to pairing people based on mutual interests, we also pay attention to the geographic location of both gig buddy and volunteer, while gender and age preferences are also taken into consideration.

To those still waiting, we’re trying our level best. However, sometimes it comes down to luck and whether there’s a buddy available within the area who not only happens to share the same interests, but also ticks the boxes in terms of gender, age and location requirements.

 

Can you help?


While we may have an abundance of volunteers in certain parts of Sydney and the Central Coast, we’re still looking for more.


When it comes to making a match it’s all about finding the RIGHT volunteer. As mentioned above, we pair people based on mutual interest(s), while age, gender and location preferences are also taken into consideration.


As such, we’re looking for the following type of volunteer:

- Female. Based on the Northern Beaches. Mid 30s - mid 40s in age; into Elvis, live music, dancing, singing and karaoke, musicals, movies and art.

- Male or female. Based in Ryde (or surrounding area). 30 - 40 years old; passionate about making music, The Wiggles, film and radio, music from the 60s - 90s.

- Male or female. Based within the Sutherland Shire. Mid 20s - mid 30s in age; into sc-fi and Japanese culture. Also likes building Gundam and Zoid manga models, anime, Game of Thrones.


If you think you can help but do not meet the requirements mentioned above, check out our Gig Buddies Sydney ‘volunteers wanted’ page as we have more buddies waiting to find a match.

 

North of the Hawkesbury


The same goes for the Central Coast. Can you help us find the following type of volunteer?

- Female. Based in Bateau Bay (or surrounding area). Mid 20s - mid 30s in age; into 80s metal / glam rock / heavy metal. Likes animals, going to the cinema and karaoke.

- Female. Based in Umina (or surrounding area). Mid 20s - mid 30s in age; a lover of watching live sport (union, league, soccer, netball). Keen on travelling to Sydney to watch a match.

- Male or female. Based in Wyong (or surrounding area). Early 30s in age; likes amateur radio, into Marvel / action films, bush walking and stage shows.

- Female. Based in Umina (or surrounding area). 18 - early 30s in age; likes arts and craft, art galleries, watching a sports match, horror movies.

- Male. Based in Hamlyn Terrace (or surrounding area). Early 30s in age; likes the outdoors, going to the movies, checking out live music, having a bite to eat and a game of pool.


For more information on buddies waiting to find their ideal match, check out our Central Coast ‘wanted volunteers’ page here.

 

I can do it!


Do you fit the bill, or do you know someone who would make a wonderful volunteer? You can connect with the Gig Buddies Sydney and Central Coast teams via Facebook, text or phone call (0402 708 814).


Alternatively, those interested can jump straight to our volunteer online application form by loading up the following links: Sydney here; Central Coast here.

 

Come join us


In other news, we’re excited to reveal our movements for August.


Next month we bring you flower making, live music, drag bingo and our Western Sydney hub launch.

To find out more about our August outings (and to sign up), load up the links below:


If you have any questions about our forthcoming events, get in touch: we can be reached via Facebook Messenger, email: info@gigbuddiessydney.org or via text or phone call on 0411 252 228.

 

Pens and paper at the ready


Are you at a loose end this Thursday afternoon? Come join us on Zoom as we get arty!

We’ll be creating two visual masterpieces. Have your texter, colouring pens and A4 pieces of paper at the ready.


In addition to Thursday’s online event, we also invite buddies to connect with us at 4pm today (Monday 18/7) for our weekly chat. To attend get in touch via text: 0411 252 228 or Facebook Messenger.


And to find out more about this week’s online offering (and to sign up), load up the link below.


Thursday 21 July


All online games will take place via Zoom. For information on how to use Zoom, load up the following easy read guide written by Learning Disability Wales. Alternatively, click here to check out our 'how to use Zoom' video.


If you have any questions or would like more information, send us an email: info@gigbuddiessydney.org or info@gigbuddiescentralcoast.org or call/SMS us on 0402 708 814.

 

Moving forward


We’ve made a change to when our online socials will take place.


Following this week’s art session, all future Gig Buddies online gatherings will be held at 8pm on the final Thursday of every month.


While we’re dropping down to one online gig per month, we’ve decided to move our events to the evening - ensuring as many people as possible can attend.


We start our new routine next Thursday (28/7). Be sure to check next Monday’s newsletter for more information.

 

"It changed my life to have a friend to go out with”


Each month we bring you news and views from buddies who make up our user-led team, Soul Fly Band.


Today is the turn of Audrey (below), who recently spoke at our 7th birthday.

Well, firstly, happy birthday everyone!!


This is a great achievement for Gig Buddies to celebrate seven years of bringing people together.


I remember when I first joined Gig Buddies, back in 2015 when it had just begun. After a little while, I met my first volunteer, Marissa and she was my buddy for about five years. I remember our first outing together was Karaoke in Chinatown. It was just the two of us and also Rachel from Gig Buddies came along as well. It changed my life to have a friend to go out with to different places, like Sculptures by the Sea; theatre shows at Sydney Theatre Company; some bush walks and Gig Buddies’ events.


After about five years with Marissa it was time for a change and I am so grateful to have my new volunteer and buddy, Kristy - and she is here with me tonight. Of course, Covid tore us apart for a bit and I missed her over that time, however we are making up for lost time now.

So far, we have done walks and coffee in the park; (we’ve been) to the movies and dinner; (attended) some Gig Buddies’ events, and recently we went to dinner and our first live show, 9-5, which was so amazing. We both had so much fun.


I want to thank Kristy for being a true friend to me – you give me confidence and you make me feel safe. You have shown me how to be happy and we have fun all the time when we hang out together. The girl really knows how to PARTY - and I love that! You also really support me, and I really appreciate that, so thank you and I look forward to having lots more fun with you.


Tonight, I would personally like to thank Carol, Matt, Tony, Chelsea and Bec for all their hard work in keeping us going, and for organising so many great events and opportunities for people with a disability. Thank you for your support during Covid and all the online events which brought us together. To all the wonderful volunteers, thank you for being extraordinary to your buddies and for giving your time, because without you our lives would be pretty boring.


Have a wonderful night everyone and now let’s give Gig Buddies three big cheers:


Hip Hip………..Hooray!!!

Hip Hip………..Hooray!!!

Hip Hip………..Hooray!!!

- Audrey, Soul Fly Band member

 

Getting connected


Gig Buddies were in attendance at the recent inaugural Sector Connect Agency Exchange for South Western Sydney support services.


Aylin and Xena (below) were on representation duties, connecting with likeminded organisations.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table.

 


 

COVID-19 Vaccinations update


The NSW Chief Health Officer has extended the current exemption that allows workers (and volunteers) who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to continue to work if they have been assessed as being essential to the operation of the service.


All workers (and volunteers) who have not yet received their booster must also take reasonable steps to get the booster as soon as practical. The exemption has been extended to September 6 2022.


If you haven’t done this yet, it’s important that you send the latest copy of your vaccination certificate to Gig Buddies ASAP. The certificate must show the dates on which you have received all THREE doses of the COVID vaccine.


Similarly, for those who have been granted an exemption from a medical professional, we require a copy of any relevant documentation.


You can access your vaccination certificate through your Medicare or MyGov account. Please send this certificate to info@gigbuddiessydney.org or via text/WhatsApp it to 0411 252 228.

 

Matthew Collins

Gig Buddies Central Coast coordinator

 

Would you like more information about Gig Buddies Central Coast? You’re only a click away. Connect with us via the links below.

 

Fancy revelling in legendary status? If so, please support us in our cause to get more people out to live events in Sydney.


Donations over $2 are tax deductible and all are gratefully received.

Gig Buddies Central Coast is an initiative of ACL Disability Services.

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