Volunteering and vaccinations

Covid vaccinations are now mandated for disability workers. This includes Gig Buddies volunteers.

As per the following announcement from NSW Health, here’s what you need to know:

  • The Public Health Order (PHO) mandating vaccinations for aged care workers has been amended to include workers providing disability services

  • Employers will need to take reasonable steps to ensure that workers comply with the PHO

Furthermore, the PHO directs that a worker or provider delivering disability services in person must not provide the services unless they:

  • Have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9.00am on 25 October

  • Have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9.00am 29 November

  • Have a medical contraindication certificate from a medical practitioner

The direction requires that a person responsible for a worker, or ‘person providing disability services’, take all reasonable steps to ensure that workers comply with the PHO.

Gig Buddies is an initiative of ACL Disability Services - an NDIS registered organisation with over 50 years’ experience assisting adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities. In line with the new announcement, Gig Buddies’ volunteers are regarded as a ‘person providing disability services’ and, as such, all volunteers - bar those with medical exemptions - are required to be vaccinated in order to continue with the project.


"We require all active volunteers, or volunteers in the process of being paired, to submit their vaccination certificate or medical exemption. Chelsea, from the Gig Buddies team, will be in touch in due course."


For more information about the announcement, refer to the following article posted by the National Disability Services (NDS).


Additionally, should you have questions about mandatory vaccinations for Gig Buddies’ volunteers, please get in touch: we can be reached via Facebook Messenger, email: info@gigbuddiessydney.org or info@gigbuddiescentralcoast.org or via text or phone call on 0422 061 990 (Gig Buddies Sydney) or 0402 708 814 (Central Coast).


https://www.nds.org.au/news/nsw-news-flash-vaccination-mandated-for-disability-workers


Gimme five


We’re delighted to share news that the fifth Gig Buddies Central Coast pairing is imminent.

We’d like to say thanks to Lobsang (above) for joining us on Zoom last Wednesday (20/10) for volunteer training. With the required vetting now underway, we look forward to revealing the project’s newest pairing soon.

 

Ready-to-go volunteers


Help us continue with this momentum.


To build on the news of pairing number five, we need new recruits. Specifically, we’re looking for Gig Buddies - adults (18+) with mild to moderate learning disabilities and / or autism who live on the Central Coast.

Gig Buddies tackles social isolation, and we have volunteers based throughout the region who are waiting and ready to go! The benefits of joining our growing community include:


Meet new people! Try new things! Expand your circle of friends! Go out with someone who’s not a family member or support worker!


We match adults with disabilities with volunteers, both of whom share a mutual passion(s). Age, gender and location preferences are also taken into consideration - and once paired up, ‘matched buddies’ attend gigs and events of their choosing. These can range from music concerts, sporting matches, bushwalking or catching up for a coffee – the possibilities are endless, and are all determined on someone’s personal interests.


With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, now is the perfect time to join the fun.

If you (or someone you know) would benefit from joining us at Gig Buddies Central Coast, feel free to send a text or call us on 0402 708 814. Alternatively, head to our website, www.gigbuddiescentralcoast.org or get in touch via Facebook Messenger.

 

If you’ve got it, haunt it


In response to New South Wales’ new freedoms and the relaunch of Gig Buddies face-to-face social events, we’re to scale back on online offerings. As such, for the week ahead we invite you to join us for the following:

Join us on Thursday (28/10) for the Gig Buddies Hallowe'en party: expect trivia and music - and we encourage attendees to dress for the occasion.


In addition to Thursday’s event, we also invite buddies to connect with us online at 4pm tomorrow (Tuesday 26/10) for a group chat. To attend get in touch via text: 0422 061 990 or Facebook Messenger.


To register for our Hallowe’en party, load up the following link:

Thursday 28/10


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@gigbuddiescentralcoast.org or call/SMS us on 0402 708 814.


Get creative


Our ‘art-ober’ competition ends this forthcoming Sunday (31/10)..

As a reminder, we’re calling on buddies to get creative, send us in a copy of their artwork, and help us design our 2022 calendars.


Once your visual masterpieces are ready to be presented, take a photo and upload to our designated art page - after which your art will appear on the Gig Buddies website and your name will go in the hat to win one of three prizes.

At the end of the month we’ll then randomly select three names from our lucky draw, where winners will receive either a $100, $50 or $25 gift voucher.

Buddies can upload as many pieces of art as they like to our website, however they’ll only receive one entry to our lucky draw.

All submitted art pieces will be considered for the Gig Buddies 2022 calendar - to be released in December.

For more information on how to submit your entry, click here or, if you have any other questions about our ‘art-ober’ competition, get in touch via email: info@gigbuddiessydney.org or info@gigbuddiescentralcoast.org or call/SMS us on 0402 708 814.

 

“…we were very happy to have taken the leap”


Our newly launched feature of sharing stories from participants of Sydney’s user-led team, The Soul Fly Band, continues.

Last week we heard from Nalyn, while Jack kicked things off. This week it’s the turn of Lachy;


I used to live in Sydney, with a very steep driveway hill that made it tricky for me to get in and out of the house. Because of this, my mum and I thought moving to the Central Coast was a good idea. Not only because it can be a lot flatter, but we would be closer to family. My aunt and uncle live around 2 streets away now, which is super convenient.


We moved to the Central Coast in July 2021, literally a day before the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions took effect. Moving was very stressful and having to pack up all our belongings was a big task.


But once we arrived in Gwandalan and got over the stress and fatigue of moving a few of days later – we were very happy to have taken the leap.

“….it didn’t long for my perception to change”


I have been with the Gig Buddies project for around 5 years. I joined because I didn’t have anyone to go out with, apart from my mum. I wanted to go music gigs, comedy shows, theatre and many more events.


I was introduced to my gig buddy volunteer Michelle in July 2016 (below; this photo was taken at the Gig Buddies Christmas in July silent disco at Sydney Aquarium). We met at a café in Chatswood with Matt from the Gig Buddies team, and I remember I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure at that time what Gig Buddies was about, and I had a previous experience with another service that left me a bit unsure. But we talked for just under an hour about the kinds of concerts we wanted to go to together and it didn’t long for my perception to change.

Our first catch up was at a local music festival, where we saw a lot of different bands performing. I don’t remember a lot of the bands or where it was, but I do remember having a great time with Michelle.

Over the years, we managed to go to a lot of different events including a belly dancing event and a Chinese New Year event at The Concourse in Chatswood. We also went to see Tkay Maidza at the State Theatre – which was my first rap concert! We also marched at the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which was an incredible highlight.


When my mum and I were deciding whether to move to the Central Coast or not, I chatted with Michelle about it on-and-off. She was very supportive and was keen to stay in touch once we moved. This made me feel better about the idea of moving to a new place.


“my advice would be give it a go!”

When the time came to move, I felt a bit nervous. Mostly because I wasn’t sure if I could still be a part of the Gig Buddies project once we had moved. I was feeling a bit upset at the thought of leaving the project and stepping away from Soul Fly Band.

But luckily Gig Buddies Central Coast opened! This along with successfully buying our current house meant it all felt a bit like fate!

Gig Buddies Central Coast is still in the early stages of launching, and due to the current COVID-19 lockdown we haven’t been able to do any Gig Buddies social events yet.

But I was excited when Matthew (Gig Buddies Central Coast Coordinator) told me he had a potential volunteer lined up for me.


My current buddy is Sherie (below; this photo was taken at Event Cinemas, Tuggerah - prior to the Black Widow movie) and we were the third Gig Buddies Central Coast pairing. Sherie and I are both movie buffs and love live music within lots of different genres. So far, we have caught up for coffee and we have also caught up for a Sunday picnic at Budgewoi Park. I think our pairing is going very happily and smoothly so far, and I’m really excited to see what events we get to once lockdown restrictions ends. I have some tickets for rescheduled shows that we might go to, and we also talked about purchasing tickets to see Hamilton down in Sydney!


It can be a bit nerve-wracking to be repaired with a new volunteer, especially if you have been with the same volunteer for a long time. But my advice would be give it a go! And if it doesn’t work out – don’t lose your confidence. There will be someone out there for you that you can have fun with.

What I’ve been doing during lockdown


I am an administrator for around 15 Facebook groups (and counting!) that are themed around movies, tv shows and science fiction – including Dr Who, James Bond, Harry Potter and more. These groups are little communities for people to connect with each other about specific topics. As an admin, I have managed to meet fellow admins from all over the world and made some great friends through that.

During lockdown, we had an incident within the group for Fans of Wolfy Bry. The person who created the group invited another individual to be an admin – however this individual decided to start kicking people out of the group for no apparent reason.


I had to step in, so I managed to screenshot evidence and send to the group creator who was just as shocked as me about this behaviour. When we both tried to confront this individual about what he was doing, he didn’t respond to us and just left the group without warning. When we finally managed to speak with the individual, he told us it was his roommate’s doing – as he had taken over the account and started kicking people out of the group. However, the roommate later denied this and accused him of lying. The roommate even packed up and left their shared house! It was quite a drama.


Thankfully it’s all sorted now, and the group has managed to grow and thrive despite this incident. Being admin for these groups keeps me quite busy!

Aside from this, I have been watching A LOT of movies including Star Trek and older movies, as well as reading ‘Dr Who: The Ultimate Foe”. I’m about halfway through that one!


As we start to come out of lockdown, and everything starts to open up, I hope everyone can get out there and start having some fun again!

 

A word from the pros


While New South Wales continues to enjoy greater freedoms, we’re going to continue with our push for those who may be struggling.


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).