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.
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.
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?
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.
It sounds like a free support worker….
Gig Buddies Sydney is a volunteer based buddying program, not a substitute for paid support.
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.
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.
Tell me about the group social events you organise…..
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.
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).
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 www.nswcompanioncard.org.au
What about the NDIS?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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;
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