This week we caught up with two unique buddies, both of whom were paired prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, but are yet to physically meet up with each other.
For the past eight weeks Rachelle (left, below) and Dani (top right, below) have been communicating via WhatsApp video.
We caught up with them both over the phone to discuss their pairing.
Firstly, how have you been coping during the lockdown?
Rachelle: Very good, I have been at home doing my Zumba and I have been exercising with my personal trainers on Zoom twice a week. I’ve been catching up with mum as well.
Dani: It’s been difficult being away from work and friends and I have missed going out. I love going to the pubs, movies and theatre - not being able to participate in culture things like films or plays has been one of the hardest things. We’ve been trying to recreate it - I’m meeting with a friend and we’re going to stream the national theatre and make a night of it by dressing up.
How have you two been communicating and when did you get paired up?
Rachelle: We talk on WhatsApp video once a week - every Tuesday or Wednesday at 6pm.
Dani: We started talking at the beginning of the Covid lockdown, about two months ago.
Were you nervous meeting via WhatsApp?
Rachelle: Just a little. I haven't met Dani in person yet - we’ve only met on the phone. I was a little bit nervous but then we got talking and she is very lovely. She has cats and so do I.
Dani: It’s hard to get the nuances of someone over WhatsApp, but it’s better than not meeting at all. I was wondering how it would go and if we would get to know each other over a phone call, but it’s been going well.
I feel like I do know Rachelle quite well which is bizarre because we haven’t met yet! I would recommend the virtual catch ups over Zoom or WhatsApp to others - it's a great way to catch up if you can’t be together.
Tell us more about your cat chats
Rachelle: My cat is called Babe and Dani has two, one called Plato and the other Mila. We show each other our cats, hers our the most cutest cats ever!
Dani: It’s broken the ice, having cats to talk about. My advice to others in a similar situation would be to have things to do or things to show - just to get the conversation going. We have also showed each other photos; she’s shown me a tour of her apartment and photos of her family.
What else has been discussed?
Rachelle: We talk about our weeks and about our latest news, but nothing much is happening because of the virus. We also talk about what we’re having for dinner.
Dani: We’ve also talked about TV and I’ve shown her what I’ve been cooking. There’s so many ways to involve people in conversation.
How do you feel your pairing has gone so far?
Rachelle: Yeah, very good. Dani said when the virus is finished we can go to the movies, we can go out and do things - I am very happy about that.
Dani: I feel it’s been going well. It will be good to start doing activities together; we’re not running out of things to talk about but it will be fun to start introducing activities.
What will you do when the virus passes?
Rachelle: We’ll maybe go to a concert somewhere or we can catch up and play some games.
Dani: I do yoga at home and I know Rachelle does Zumba. I’ve noted that she likes exercising and that’s something we could do together, go to a park and do a video workout.
Due to popular demand, virtual bingo is back.
This week buddies will also have the chance to take part in our Australia quiz. To get involved in any of our socials, click on the event links below to register.
- Midday: Gig Buddies Sydney Australia quiz
- 7:30pm: Virtual bingo
- Midday: Virtual bingo
The above ticket links will also include information about what technology you need to take part in the games. All Gig Buddies Sydney online activities take place via Zoom, while we’ve also written an easy read guide for Kahoot! - the app used for our Australia quiz. Click here to read.
To take part in our Australia quiz, buddies will need to access two devices - one to run Zoom and the other to enable the Kahoot! app. For example, buddies could access Zoom via a desktop computer/laptop and load up the Kahoot! app on a smartphone or tablet.
If you have any questions about any of our up and coming online socials or would like more information, send us an email: email@example.com, get in touch on Facebook Messenger or contact us via text or on the phone on either 0422 061 990 or 0412 145 819.
Bring out your inner child
Buddies are also invited to join us for the first ever Gig Buddies Sydney Play-Doh challenge.
We have 9 spots available. To join in participants are required to register via the following link. A Play-Doh set will then be mailed out, after which buddies are invited to create their very own masterpieces.
A Zoom social will be arranged at a later date for those who sign up, where buddies will have the chance to show off their creations.
Your questions answered
Last Thursday (7/5) we hosted our first ever Gig Buddies Sydney Q&A session - thanks to everyone who attended.
On the night we provided an NDIS update for participants, discussed our approach towards socials post-Covid, talked about our ongoing efforts to engage with buddies during lockdown, and our intentions for pairing up more buddies.
To those who missed it, we will be hosting a follow up session at a later date.
Woof, miaow, cluck, 🐟
And last Friday (8/5) we were joined by buddies and their furry friends as we held our first ever pet-a-rama.
Thanks to all the dogs, cats, chickens, fish and owners for getting involved.
Over the weekend both the federal and state government announced news of a relaxation on lockdown restrictions, some measures of which are to come into effect for Sydneysiders from this Friday (15/5).
In the meantime, we continue to offer participants the opportunity to engage with staff via our Facebook chats and the online socials.
We’re here to remind participants that if you’re experiencing increased levels of social isolation to please get in touch. Buddies can text or call us on either 0422 061 990 or 0412 145 819. We’re here to chat.
Gig Buddies Sydney Community Engagement Coordinator
Would you like more information about Gig BuddiesSydney? You’re only a click away. Connect with us via the links below.
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Donations over $2 are tax deductible and all are gratefully received.
The Gig Buddies Sydney project is an initiative of ACL Disability Services.