Prior to her return to England, the Gig Buddies Sydney team sat down with Madeline – Gig Buddies Project Coordinator in Brighton and volunteer training guru, who gave us some insight about the paces potential volunteers are put through during initiation (picture below).
(L to R: Sean, Gig Buddies Sydney Coordinator; Libby, Events Coordinator; Madeline, Gig Buddies Project Coordinator (UK); Matthew, Social Media Coordinator)
This tried and tested approach to volunteer training - to be replicated by Gig Buddies Sydney’s own Project Coordinator, Sean – is a way to ease any anxieties, put paid to any concerns, and give an insight to the principles of Gig Buddies.
So far we’ve received well over 30 expressions of interest along with 70 submitted volunteer applications; of the latter we’ve received paperwork from solicitors, chartered accountants, tree loppers and diesel mechanics. Moreover, 85% of those submissions have indicated they’ve never interacted with someone with a disability.
Author Chris Hart once said: ““All the statistics in the world can't measure the warmth of a smile”, while Gayla LeMaire wrote “volunteers are paid in six figures… S-M-I-L-E-S”.
We at Gig Buddies Sydney would never stipulate a volunteer must have a required level of experience or be of a certain background; our training day aims to fuse the two apt quotes together in order to best equip our volunteers, irrespective of their know-how.
Group based discussions will include plenty of interaction between volunteers and a Gig Buddy participant, who will attend training to give an idea of what they look for in a buddy. We appreciate that not everyone is the same, but we want to drive home the importance of social inclusion and the significance of the participant being able to attend events of their choosing – all in a cordial and collaborative environment.
Innocuous social no-nos and tips on what to do in the worst case scenarios, along with outlining the role of the volunteer, and stressing the significance of a rapport between volunteer and buddy are some of the other topics on the table.
The aim of training day is for volunteers to come away more knowledgeable about the disability sector and what’s expected from them; armed afterwards with a volunteers’ handbook and code of conduct, we will strive to allay any apprehensions, offer reassurance (if required) and stress that everyone has the right to be socially included in their community.
Training will take place approximately once a month in the ACL Disability Services office, and we’re always on the lookout for newbies. If you are free to give 10 hours a month to enable people with a disability an opportunity to experience the buzz of live music, we’d like to hear from you.
If you have any training day related questions or a general query, leave a comment below or get in touch via email.
Gig Buddies Sydney Social Media Coordinator