A unique gig buddies scene is thriving in Calderdale just months after it launched.
The Square Chapel is among venues running the ‘gig buddies’ idea which sees people volunteer to buddy up with a person with a learning disability to attend gigs, concerts, theatre, cinema or museums.
It’s about making the arts more accessible to all sections of society and Gemma Hailwood-McCallion, Gig Buddies Coordinator at Square Chapel, said they have people aged 16 to 50 signed up already.
She said: “We have a waiting list on both sides – we want to match people by personality, likes and interests rather than availability, so we’re always looking for more people. So if a volunteer likes theatre over gigs, we try to match them with someone who shared the same interest.”
The age limit for volunteers is 18, with participants aged over 16.
For the Square Chapel participants have to live in Calderdale, as the service is funded by the council’s Adult Health and Social Care service.
But the Gig Buddies idea, launched in Brighton by charity Stay Up Late, can be considered by any venue.
Gemma, also a gig buddy to Harvey, added: “I’m really excited to be a part of what is such an important project; everyone deserves the opportunity to have a vibrant and fun social life, with Gig Buddies Calderdale, they can.”
In an interview her gig buddy Harvey said he’d been to an “amazing event” and said it was exciting and nice to go to cinema, theatre or a museum “with someone rather than go on your own” and he would recommend it as a “chance to meet new friends with the same interests.”