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"I forget that Gig Buddies is a volunteering role”

For one final time in 2022, it’s time to shed some light on another of our wonderful volunteers.


For this month’s volunteer vault entry we’re excited to share our first testimony from the Central Coast. Sherie (below, alongside buddy Lachy) has kindly opened about her experiences with the project.

- How long have you been volunteering with Gig Buddies?


I was paired with my buddy Lachy in September 2021.

- Is Gig Buddies your first volunteering role?


I’ve done a lot of volunteer work with animals over the years. Volunteering in shelters, fostering animals and fundraising etc, but this is my first volunteer role with humans.

- Why do you volunteer with Gig Buddies?


As an able-bodied person I wasn't aware of the challenges people with a disability face just to be able to have a social life and enjoy a night out. If I can help someone bridge those challenges simply by going to events and meeting new people, why would I not?!

- How would you describe your volunteering experience with Gig Buddies?

Honestly, I forget that Gig Buddies is a volunteering role. Lachy and I are great friends who enjoy each other’s company and doing fun things together.

- Tell us about some of the highlights from your time volunteering with Gig Buddies?


Lachy and I have done so much in the time we have been paired.

We’ve seen lots of different bands, Comic Con, steam train ride, parties, movies, market events, Mardi Gras, musicals and heaps more. I’ve also been able to meet some great people and make new friends at the Gig Buddies’ social events.

- What would you say to someone reading this who is thinking about volunteering with Gig Buddies?


The Gig Buddies team put a lot of effort and consideration into paring.


They pair people with similar music tastes, hobbies and interests, so you'll be paired with someone you'll enjoy spending time with and you wont even feel like a volunteer.


You will also receive training and ongoing support from the team to be sure your time with Gig Buddies is enjoyable and beneficial for everyone involved.

 

"I’m just hanging out with my friend really”


Thank you, Sherie, for sharing your story. We hope her words resonate with our Sydney and Central Coast communities, along with those who are thinking about singing up with us.

 

Five of the finest


That was the final volunteer vault installment for the year. We want to acknowledge everyone who took the time to share their Gig Buddies’ volunteering story in 2022.


We started the feature in July and this year we heard from Megan, Dean, Ali, Rodrigo and Sherie.

Our volunteer vault feature will return in January 2023.

 

Are you looking to volunteer?


We need volunteers! Click on the image above for current roles on the Central Coast and the graphic below for opportunities in Sydney.


If you have any questions or would like more information, contact us via Facebook or email: info@gigbuddiessydney.org

 

Christmas on the Coast


This is your last chance to book for our Central Coast festive catch up.

As a reminder, we’re inviting buddies to join us at the Balcony Restaurant & Bar @ Shelly Beach Surf Club (near Bateau Bay) for an afternoon of good food, drinks and company. Plus superb views overlooking the ocean!


Taking place this Saturday (December 3), we’ve got a table reservation booked for 1pm. To attend our festive gathering on the Central Coast, and to find out more information on The Balcony’s menu, click here.

This event is open to buddies based in Sydney and on the Central Coast.

 

Christmas in the city


On the subject of our socials, our final gathering for 2022 - the Gig Buddies festive party - is fast approaching.

On Wednesday 7 December we’ll be taking over the legendary Burdekin Hotel on Oxford Street - and we’re down to the final few tickets.


Whether you’re based in Sydney or on the Central Coast, we invite you dust off those dancing shoes and join us for one last time in 2022!


Tickets cost $30 and include food and entertainment.


For more information about our festive party, including how to book your ticket, click here.


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

 

Each and every week we invite buddies to connect with us for our weekly chat.

Our chats take place via Zoom. To attend get in touch via text: 0422 061 990 or Facebook Messenger.

 

Feedback wanted


Our end of year strategic planning meeting is approaching - and last week we appealed directly to buddies, volunteers and our support networks to get in touch with their ideas, suggestions and tweaks for 2023.


We’ve had an amazing response! Thank you to everyone who’s got in touch so far.

To those of you who would like to also share their feedback, there’s still time.


As a user-led project, we’re looking for suggestions on how we can improve the service, or any tweaks or changes to the project that you think would be beneficial to everyone involved.


Do we need improved representation in a certain part of Sydney or New South Wales? What should we be selling from our merch store?


Are we missing something when it comes to buddy and volunteer engagement? Could the training experience be enhanced, or does the recruitment process need an overhaul?


Are there any major events taking place in 2023 that you feel we should be part of? Or do you have any ideas when it comes to our social gatherings?


Could we better connect and communicate with everyone involved? What about our social media reach?


We encourage you to be bold and to think big. The possibilities are endless…. nothing is off limits, no idea will be dismissed.


Our strategic planning meeting is pencilled in the calendar for Thursday 1 December. Therefore we want to hear your ideas by Wednesday of this week (November 30).


To share your thoughts, and to see some of the suggestions put forward so far, either click here or on the image above.

 

NDIS: Have your say


And we’re not the only ones looking for feedback.


The Australian government is leading a review of the NDIS - and they want to hear from you.


In the words of Bill Shorten, Minister for NDIS and Government Services:


“For far too long the voices of people with disability and lived experience have been left out of NDIS decision making.


We’re changing that.


No one knows the NDIS better than people with disability, their carers, workers and providers - that’s why I want to hear from you in the NDIS review. We’re making it fully accessible, so have your say any way you want: online, over the phone, via video or by wiring in.”


For more information, including on how to have your say, load up the following link: https://www.ndisreview.gov.au/have-your-say

 

Soul Fly round up


Last Friday we caught up with the project’s user-led team, Soul Fly Band.


As our way of saying thank you for their ongoing work and achievements for 2022, we headed to the Anglers Rest Hotel in Hawkesbury for an end of year bite to eat.


Thanks to Audrey, Lachy, Stavros, Karen, Nalyn and Jack for joining us.


Chelsea, who like Alex and Joni was unfortunately unable to join us on the day, had this to say:


“2022 was a fantastic and productive year for Soul Fly Band (SFB). Throughout the year, we spoke about various issues including: accessibility of purchasing gig tickets, making various Gig Buddies processes more accessible, ideas for social events, the importance of language, and ways to welcome new buddies to the project. Members of SFB also represented our community at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and joined staff to present to potential new buddies at various locations.


As ever, we cannot express our thanks enough to Nalyn, Audrey, Joni, Karen, Alex, Stavros, Lachlan and Jack for their dedication to our monthly meetings and bringing fresh ideas to the project. But most importantly, we want to acknowledge their generosity in sharing their own lived experiences to help better our project, not only for themselves but for the wider Gig Buddies community. We know this is not always easy.


We’re looking forward to 2023 and some changes on the horizon for SFB. Stay tuned to https://www.gigbuddiessydney.org/soul-fly-band-buddy-group to keep up with them”

 

'When Spinal Tap meets the Queen’s Representative'


Gig Buddies project CEO, Carol, has just returned from overseas. During her travels she headed to Brighton where she caught up with members from other branches.


“I was fortunate to be able to attend the UK Gig Buddies Annual General Meeting last week in Brighton, which included a very special event in recognition of the charity’s work.


The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the equivalent of an MBE for charities, so is not awarded lightly.

The accompanying photos give a small glimpse into the evening with a gig buddy photobombing the awarding of the trophy by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, the Queen’s representative.


All of the above is standard Gig Buddies’ procedure and taken in good humour!


Paul was able to accept the award with a repeat of the presentation, dancing with a conga line and live music soon followed the formal ceremony.


It was wonderful to see Gig Buddies Bradford and Croydon participants on the night, and it was brilliant to also catch up with Harry who many of you may remember worked with us on the project in Sydney for six months.


Harry is now a trustee of the project which is the equivalent of our board members. She says “hi” to everyone."

- Carol

 

Are you in the market for Gig Buddies’ merchandise?

Click on the image above to get your fill on Gig Buddies goodies. If we haven’t got the size you’re after, get in touch via text: 0422 061 990 or Facebook Messenger.

 

COVID-19 Vaccinations - AN 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 December 4 2022.


If you have already obtained your booster please send your certificate to info@gigbuddiessydney.org or via text/WhatsApp it to 0411 252 228


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. For more information on how to obtain a copy, click here.

 

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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