We’re delighted to share news of the project’s third pairing.
Welcome to the family, Lachy and Sherie (above, L - R). In spite of the ongoing lockdown, it's great to have increased our number of paired buddies - and we look forward to hearing about their forthcoming adventures to music gigs, the theatre and comedy events.
"…our social lives play a big role in our mental health…"
Our ‘month of buddies’ series continues.
With the current lockdown set to continue we’ve reached out to our established community to share their Gig Buddies stories. Last week you heard from Ricky and Simon and today, in our second instalment, we hear from Matt and Jenna (below, L - R).
Matthew: How long have you been paired together?
Jenna: So we got paired at the beginning of May, so it’s only been a bit over four months.
Matthew: So you were paired prior to the lockdown?
Jenna: Yes, we actually got to meet each other in person, which was good! We managed to get (in) four catch ups before lockdown.
Matthew: Tell us about some of your gig buddying experiences.
Matt: Our first gig was the Gig Buddies 6th birthday on Cockatoo Island. I got to meet everyone, which was fun and I (also) got to meet new people.
Jenna: And there was good music, wasn’t there? You liked that, I recall.
Matt: Yeah, I did actually!
Matthew: You mentioned catching up four times, can you remember what else you’ve done together?
Jenna: So funnily enough we’ve caught the ferry twice. We caught the ferry over to Cockatoo Island one time.
Matt: That was fun!
Jenna: That was a lot of fun. And another time we did another Gig Buddies event and we caught the ferry over to Bundeena and we had lunch over at the Servicemen’s Club. That was fun, something different.
Matt: That was really good (the Bundeena outing), something different - I got to meet new people.
"I’ve become friends with people’s buddy's, too"
Matthew: So Matt, you’ve been with Gig Buddies a long time. Tell us about that.
Matt: I used to be paired up with Kate (my previous volunteer). We still talk and we still hangout, too.
Matthew: So, would you say you’ve made new friends from your involvement with Gig Buddies?
Matt: Yes. I’ve become friends with people’s buddy's, too. That’s been good, there’s some amazing people - and I’ve found out what they like (to do). And we’ve just gotten to know each other (from attending the Gig Buddies events).
Jenna: I’ve made so many new friends in the last few months, it’s been awesome! I’ve met so many new people at the events and with the online stuff as well. When we do eventually get to go to the in-person events it’ll be nice to put faces to names.
Matthew: Jenna, I think I met you for the first time at the Mardi Gras
Jenna: I did Mardi Gras before I even got to meet Matt, which was an amazing experience! My first involvement with Gig Buddies was getting to go to Mardi Gras, which was absolutely incredible. I guess because the Mardi Gras was so awesome everyone who was involved has this ‘Mardi Gras bond’ and we're always talking about it.
Matthew: I’m trying to think of the first time I met you, Matt. It would have been in a pub somewhere. Whenever we meet it’s always in a pub.
Matt: It’s pretty good, eh?!
Matthew: One of the last times we met was for the Gig Buddies 5th birthday in a pub in Surry Hills.
Matt: That was really fun that one, (one of the) best nights ever.
Matthew: Do you remember what you said to me? It was about 10pm on a Thursday night and you said ‘Matthew, take me to The Ivy!’
Jenna: That’s what he says to me, but now it’s The Argyle!
"…our social lives play part a big role in our mental health…"
Matthew: Matt, why did you become part of Gig Buddies?
Matt: I liked the experiences and I stayed because I enjoyed it so much. I got to go to group (outings) with people I didn’t know that well but I’ve become good friends with now. The face-to-face gigs are amazing, you (Gig Buddies) find fun places!
Matthew: We’ll take the compliment, thank you!
Matthew: And how about you Jenna, why do you volunteer with Gig Buddies?
Jenna: One of my friends was joining and she encouraged me to (get involved), but I’ve always been big on giving time back to other people - I think that’s really, really important. When I first heard about Gig Buddies I loved the concept of it because our social lives play a big role in our mental health. I live alone so my social life plays a really big part in managing my mental health, so getting out and sharing those experiences with people who wanted to try something new or meet new people, it really suited my life.
Matthew: The topic of mental health is so important, especially during lockdown. Matt, I remember when you joined up, you said that you wanted to make your own friends and go out without someone who’s not a family member.
Matt: Yeah, it was time to move on (from only hanging out with the family).
Jenna: And this is the whole concept of Gig Buddies: having someone to support you, having someone to go out with, and having someone to try something new with. I have met so many different types of people, amazing people, but they’re all united by some social connection - whether that’s sharing an interest in a type of music or a particular type of event. It’s awesome that it’s bringing all these different types of people together and the more that I get involved - even though it’s only been a few months - the more that I’m loving it!
Matthew: We’re new on the Central Coast, what would you say to people based in the area who were thinking of joining Gig Buddies?
Matt: It’s an amazing group to hang out with. You meet other people and can join in with other groups. For me I now have dancing (with Dirty Feet) on during the day and Gig Buddies at night, and it (enables) me to meet with people in person rather than by social media platforms.
Jenna: Do it! It’s so rewarding. I actually grew up on the Central Coast and I’ve already told a few people they should look at joining. It’s been so rewarding, you get to meet so many cool people and also do really cool stuff! You guys seem to have really good connections in creating awesome events, so it’s going to be really nice that once lockdown is over you’ll be able to also do that stuff up on the Coast as well.
"I dressed up as Dracula"
Matthew Why do you feel the gig buddies program is needed?
Jenna: It can be hard to meet new people and it can be hard to try new things for anybody, so having a bit of structure in place to help you to reduce the barriers to those social situations is so important. And it’s introducing you to people who you may never have come across before… I think what Gig Buddies does so well is that you have a diversity of events which I think makes a big difference. Even for me I’ve done things in the last four months that, if it wasn’t for Gig Buddies, I wouldn’t have done. We went to Music Bingo - something I have never done before. So Gig Buddies does so well in setting up those situations to enable people to have a bit more courage and a little bit more confidence to do things as a group or with their buddies.
Matt: (I agree) The events I have been to, the Hallowe’en cruise was very different - it was something I had never done before. I dressed up as Dracula. The events are always fun. You get to be you, dress up and not wear normal clothes. It’s nice to have opportunities where I can wear nice clothes out to different events.
Jenna: We’ll have to go to more fancy places!
Matthew: That’s important too, doing things you want to do but you might not have the opportunity to do them - like wearing nice clothes.
Matt: Yes, there’s nothing wrong with that! I think next year we should do a fancy event, like a dance event.
Matthew: I think that’s a good idea, it’s something we’ve never done before. Getting people dressed up for a glamorous event would be good.
Matt: We could set up our own hall….. we could have the Gig Buddies formal!
Matthew: That would be a lot of fun.
Jenna: Whenever Matt goes out he always gets complimented on how sharp he looks!
Matthew: How have you been communicating during the lockdown period?
Matt: With messages and using Zoom. We’ve been talking about ideas of things to do when things go back to how they were.
Jenna: Yes, we’ve been talking on FaceTime.
Matthew: So you’ve thought about some gig ideas?
Jenna: Yes, we’ve got lots of ideas. We’ve got too much stuff to get through!
Matt: Yes, (we have lots) planned for this year.
Jenna: We don’t know how we’re going to fit it all in once lockdown is over. We’ve already talked about bowling, we’ve talked about doing karaoke.
Matt: And what about a (Gig Buddies) Christmas party?
Matthew: This is a hot topic! Everyone keeps asking about it. Last year, due to restrictions we held nine events across Sydney. They were successful in that they enabled us the chance to bring 30 people per event together. In an ideal world though we’d have a big party, but we’re waiting to see what happens in terms of lockdown and restrictions. But absolutely, we’d love to do something big!
"We’re influenced by the powers that be. As soon as we’re told we’re allowed out by the government, we’ll be the first ones out!"
Jenna: Oh us two, right Matt?
Matt: Yes! Because it’s not easy to see people online. It’s a lot harder.
Jenna: And all the stuff we talk about wanting to do is in person, like bowling for example. We can’t do that until lockdown is over, unfortunately.
Matt: We’re going to be busy every weekend, until Christmas.
Matthew: And then you can start again in 2022!
Gimme five 👋
As for the here and now, this week we invite you to connect with us and others online by attending our Zoom events and chats.
First up, Harry and Bec invite you to join them on Wednesday for their World Languages Zoom.
Harry and Bec will be discussing the benefits of learning a language, plus they’ll share tips on how to master a second lingo. Attendees can also talk about their learnt languages, any success stories or challenges they’ve faced when travelling abroad - and things will wrap up with a Q and A.
Jack and Matthew’s Kahoot! movie quiz takes place on Thursday, and we round off the working week with a ‘00s’ music takeover. It’s party time as we return to the first decade of the century, playing all the top hits from 2000 - 2010.
In addition to our three Zoom events, we invite buddies to connect with us online for our weekly chats. They take place today and tomorrow, starting at 4pm. To attend get in touch via text: 0422 061 990 or Facebook Messenger.
And to find out more about this week’s online offerings (and to sign up), load up the links below:
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call/SMS us on 0402 708 814.
Our dirty dancing feet
On the subject of our socials, we’re delighted to reveal details of a Gig Buddies exclusive.
We, in collaboration with the wonderful Dirty Feet, will be hosting an online dance class next Wednesday (22/9) at 5pm.
We’re privileged to offer this opportunity to buddies. Sign up details will be released in next Monday’s newsletter, but we urge you to get your dancing shoes ready.
And we’re appealing to the Gig Buddies community to help us co-host a future online event.
We’re looking for gaming gig buddies to join us on Zoom to talk about their favourite computer games and consoles.
The aim is to bring the Gig Buddies gaming community together. During the Zoom we’re hoping that friendships will be formed and attendees will be able to play against each other in the future.
If you are a gaming gig buddy and you’d like to co-host an event with a Gig Buddies staff member, get in touch: you can reach us via email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, get in touch on Facebook Messenger or contact us by text or on the phone on 0422 061 990.
Getting creative in the kitchen
We’ve received so many wonderful entries to our ‘cook and win’ competition.
Would you like to win a $100 gift voucher? Do you like cooking or baking? If so, read on…..
We’re calling on buddies to get creative in the kitchen and upload a photo or video of their handiwork - much like Bevan (below).
For more information, including how to upload your entries, load up the following link.
A word from the pros
And finally, throughout lockdown we’re going to continue promoting professional services for any of you doing it tough.
Mental Health First Aid Australia have issued the following guidelines on assisting someone distressed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and they’re also providing mental health first aid in the time of ‘social distancing. Additionally, the team from ideas.org.au have shared their ‘look after your mental health in the COVID-19 crisis’ list of ideas.
reachout.com have also released their 10 ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus guide, while for those of you now working from home, Black Dog Institute have put together the following checklist to support your mental health.
We’re here to chat
From our perspective, while we’re not trained professionals, we are available for a chat.
For anyone experiencing increased social isolation, send a text or call us at 0402 708 814 (Gig Buddies Central Coast) or 0422 061 990 (Gig Buddies Sydney).
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.