Frequently asked questions - FAQs (click on a question for the answer)

What is Gig Buddies?

Gig Buddies Sydney is a befriending program that tackles social isolation for adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities and/or autism. We match adults with disability with volunteers, both of whom share similar interests.

How old do I need to be?

Gig Buddies is for people 18 years old or older.

Who operates Gig Buddies Sydney?

The project is run by ACL Disability Services, an organisation with over 50 years’ experience assisting adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities and autism. It has been running in Sydney since early 2015. The Gig Buddies program started in Brighton, England - Gig Buddies UK. ACL Disability Services and the Gig Buddies Sydney project are registered as NDIS providers (Registration Number 4050003928) and registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (Registration ID: 4-3LLK-1912)

Who is the Gig Buddies program for?

Gig Buddies Sydney supports adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities and autism.

How are buddies recruited?

Word of mouth, social media, presentations, TV or radio appearances and magazine articles are some of the ways buddies have found out about the project.

How do I sign up to be a volunteer?

Volunteers are required to submit an online application form. Head to the volunteer page where you’ll find more info and links to the volunteer application form. Click here to apply if you would like to volunteer

Do volunteers get training?

Yes, all volunteers go through our training program.

Are volunteers checked?

Yes, all volunteers submit a police check along with two personal references.

Can you provide a volunteer for a one-off gig?

Sorry, No. Gig Buddies Sydney is all about building longterm friendships and increasing an individual’s social circles. Our matched buddies and volunteers are encouraged to catch up for a gig or an event at least once a month for a year. Pleade note that the Gig buddies Sydney project also hosts their own social events that are open to all signed up participants and volunteers, You don't need to be paired with a buddy to come to these events, but you must be signed up and you must get tickets.

Tell me more about the expectation of the volunteer…..

Once paired up we request that volunteers commit to the program for 12 months. Within that year we advise that buddies catch up for approximately 6 - 10 hours per month. This may be a "gig" on one day or night of the month, and maybe a coffee another day. Everyone who joins Gig Buddies has different expectations, available time and personal commitments, so we will consider this and try to make a buddy pairing work for both buddies. We appreciate that ‘life can get in the way’ and that no one keeps a quota of how often they catch up with others. 6 - 10 hours a month is a recommended estimate; while consistency is key (agreeing to catch up every third Saturday of the month, for example) we appreciate that every buddy and volunteer is different in terms of lifestyle and personal commitments.

It sounds like a free support worker….

Gig Buddies Sydney is a volunteer based buddying program, not a substitute for paid support. Gig Buddies Sydney is about friends catching up regularly and having fun. We emphasise that the volunteer benefits just as much as the person with a disability.

I’ve submitted my application. What happens now?

Thank you! We appreciate you taking the time to submit an application form. We’ll now begin the pairing process - as described by the image below:

How long before I get a gig buddy?

Gig Buddies Sydney prides itself on being a high quality service where we take time to get to know everyone. We match buddies based on mutual interests, while age, gender and location preferences are also considered. Sorry, we can't tell you how long it will take when it comes to making a pairing, and we can't guarantee that we will find everyone a buddy.

What if I am waiting a long time?

Once you've signed up, you are part of the Gig Buddies Sydney community and you’re welcome to attend our Gig Buddies Sydney social events - irrespective if you’re paired up or not. Social events are a great way to meet other buddies, to increase social circles and to enjoy new experiences.

Tell me about the group social events you organise…..

As well as pairing up two buddies to go to events together, we also organise regular Gig Buddies Sydney socials that take place throughout Sydney. These are for all paired or un-paired registered buddies and volunteers. To date we have held Gig Buddies Sydney socials in conjunction with Cronulla Sharks, Vivid Festival, Sydney Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Swans, Sydney Kings and NSW Swifts. We have also held gatherings at numerous hotels across the city, and we frequently attend community events - all of which reflect the many varied interests of our buddies. All information about our upcoming social events is shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and via our weekly newsletter - enter your email address at the bottom of the page "join our mailing list"to joing our newletter mailing list.

Who decides on the match?

The team at Gig Buddies Sydney speaks with everyone who submits an application. This enables us to make an informed decision about who to match with who. Personal interests, age, gender and locality are just some of the factors we take into consideration when matching buddies with volunteers. We want both participants and volunteers to enjoy catching up together once or twice a month, so we take care to find a suitable buddy.

You’ve found me a buddy... what happens next?

Once the volunteer has attended training and submitted both their police check and personal references, they will be introduced to their buddy. A Gig Buddies Sydney staff member will also be at the meeting. During this catch up contact details will be exchanged and Buddies will also decide on the type of events they’ll attend, how they’ll communicate, how they’ll travel etc (see ‘agreement between buddies’ form below). After the buddy and volunteer have been introduced, a Gig Buddies Sydney staff member can also join them at their first gig. Image "agreement between buddies"

What if the pairing doesn’t work out, or I can no longer volunteer?

That’s totally fine. If it doesn’t work out, or your circumstances change, we’ll offer support to see if there’s something we can do - and that may include finding a new buddy.

How much does it cost to go out to a gig?

Both the buddy and volunteer pay for their own tickets and travel costs; eligible gig buddies can take advantage of the NSW Companion Card, which allows the participant's volunteer to attend select events free of charge. For more information visit

What about the NDIS?

Assisted Community Living Ltd, Gig Buddies Sydney's parent company, is a registered provider with the NDIS. All participants (adults with mild to moderate learning disability and/or autism) who sign up are required to include Gig Buddies Sydney within their NDIS plan. We charge participants an administration fee which is the equivilent of *three hours per month, either from Capacity Building or Core Support. *the 3 hours per month is not the number of hours spent with the volunteer. For more information about fees and line items, click here

Is it all about music?

No. Eeveryone is different and, when you sign up, you can tell us what your ‘gig’ is. This could be mixing it in a mosh pit, watching a favourite sports’ team, bush walking, going to the theatre or checking out local art galleries. Whatever your interests are, we will try to find you a buddy who wants to do the same things as you.

I can’t commit to volunteering, can I help in other ways?

Yes, we’re always looking to improve and grow the project. To both individuals and corporate organisations, our door is always open and we’re always keen on a conversation about gifts in kind. As a not for profit we rely on funding to keep going, and we’re always grateful for any contributions. Our donation page can be found here.

Are you a user-led organisation?

Yes. All participants are invited to be connect with the Gig Buddies Sydney advisory team, Soul Fly Band, who advises on the initiative and links with management at ACL Disability Services. Check them out at their web page here.

How do buddies arrange gigs?

Buddies communicate in a manner of different ways. Text, phone calls, emails or via a support worker/family member - every pairing is different when it comes to connecting with each other and arranging events.

How do I know what’s going on with Gig Buddies Sydney?

We send out a weekly e-newsletter that has all our latest news and details about our up and coming social events. Buddies can also follow us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, enter your email at the bottom of the page at "join our mailing list"

How can family members, carers and support workers help?

One of our biggest challenges is that it’s sometimes difficult to make sure there’s good communication between volunteers and buddies. When buddies meet for the first time contact details are exchanged; from time to time we call on family members and/or support staff to assist with any logistics when it comes to communicating or planning around attending a gig.

Are you only operating in Sydney?

Yes, but we know the Gig Buddies program would work in other towns and cities within Australia. Click here to find out Gig Buddies can be rolled out to other parts of the country.

Do volunteers have to pay for their police checks?

Gig Buddies Sydney re-imburses volunteers for their police checks.

Who decides what events buddies go to together?

The Gigs you decide to go to with your buddy are decided by you and your buddy. By "gig" we mean it could be watching live music, theatre or sport, meeting up for a chat and coffee, going to the movies, or going for a walk. Any kind of catch up.

What is included in the volunteering training?

In the training, volunteers will learn about the project, why we need gig buddies, about learning disabilities, their role as a volunteer, boundaries, safeguarding, confidentiality, "what to do" in certain scenarios, the gig buddy relationship and more.
We are confident that after training, volunteers will feel comfortable being a Gig Buddies volunteer.
The Gig Buddies Sydney team will always be on hand to help out both volunteers and participants should you need us.

How do I get a buddy to come with me to events?

You will need to fill in a form on this website. Head to the participant page where you’ll find more information and the gig buddy application form. If you need help, you can call or email Gig Buddies Sydney (02 9419 6951) or Click here to apply if you have a learning disability and want a buddy to go to events with a volunteer

Are there any out-of-pocket expenses for volunteers?

Like you would in your other friendships, participants and volunteers pay for their own tickets, food, drinks etc.
In the case where a participant has a NSW Companion Card, volunteers may get a free or heavily discounted ticket. Or you can choose cheap or free events. Volunteers are in their rights to set a limit to how much they want to spend.
Gig Buddies Sydney takes care to pair you with someone who wants to do and go to the same things as you, so you will be going to things that you would want to go to anyway.
We will discuss this during the pairing meeting, but please talk to us beforehand if money is an issue.

Where in Sydney is the project?

The Gig Buddies Sydney project is in all of these Sydney areas; 1 - North West Sydney
2 - Northern Suburbs
3 - Northern Beaches
4 - North Shore
5 - Sydney CBD
6 - Eastern Suburbs
7 - Inner West
8 - South Sydney
9 - Western Sydney
10 - South West Sydney
11 - Greater Western Sydney If you are outside of these areas please contact us, as we may have volunteers or participants in your area.

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ACL Disability Services

125 Blues Point Road

McMahons Point

NSW, 2060


02 9419 6951

ABN 60114099928

NDIS Reg No 4050003928

© 2019 Gig Buddies Sydney

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Gig Buddies Sydney is a registered NDIS service provider and charity


Gig Buddies Sydney acknowledge the Cammeraygal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and pay respects to the Elders both past, present and emerging.

Gig Buddies Sydney facilitates a community and social culture that is built on mutual respect and understanding.
Gig Buddies Sydney thoroughly condemn and will not tolerate any discrimination of any kind based on a physical or learning disability, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, gender, age, religion or any other defining characteristics.