Last week we provided an update on where we sit in terms of numbers.
Across Sydney and the Central Coast, we have 151 current pairings, with 76 buddies and 418 volunteers still waiting on a match.
Having so many matches means we have plenty of stories to tell. As such, we’re starting a new feature entitled the ‘Gig Buddies volunteer vault.’
Photo caption: Megan left, Chelsea right, above. “One reason why Chelsea and I get along so well is because neither of us are on our phone that much and we never take pictures! It’s in no way a reflection of how much we enjoy each other’s company” - Megan
On the last Monday of each month we’ll bring you the opinions of an exisiting volunteer. We kick off things with Megan, pictured above with buddy Chelsea.
- How long have you been volunteering with Gig Buddies?
Since May 2019. Time flies when you're having fun.
- Is Gig Buddies your first volunteering role?
Gig Buddies is not my first volunteering role, but it is one that I love! I also volunteer with a group called Achilles Australia. They are a wonderful group who facilitate training and participation in running and walking events in a supportive social environment where people with disabilities can achieve life changing goals.
- Why do you volunteer with Gig Buddies?
I volunteer with Gig Buddies because I was instantly drawn to the ethos and mission of the organisation. I love that Gig Buddies focuses on an individual's strengths and on enabling people from all walks of life to partake in the best social events on offer across Sydney. The Gig Buddies community is extremely warm and welcoming, and it has been a pleasure to volunteer with them over the past three years.
- How would you describe your volunteering experience with Gig Buddies?
The Gig Buddies experience for me has been so much fun and extremely rewarding. The Gig Buddies crew put together an incredible list of activities each month, providing numerous opportunities to partake in a wide range of events. My gig buddy Chelsea and I have participated in outings such as comedy shows, netball games, walks along some of Sydney’s most stunning beaches and parks, Archibald Art visits, silent discos, and of course the annual Gig Buddies Christmas party. I really enjoy the variety of outings that are on offer as well as the chance to meet new and wonderful people at the events.
- Tell us about some of the highlights from your time volunteering with Gig Buddies?
There are many! I think Chelsea and I would both agree that the Silent Disco at the Sydney Aquarium was one of our favourite events (we love a good dance floor). There was such a great turn out for the event and you could feel how much enjoyment everyone had from letting their hair down and having a dance. It was also such a special experience to have the Aquarium all to ourselves for the night.
Another highlight was the chance to march in the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade in 2021. I will always remember the excitement and pride I had marching across the field of the SCG and how the crowd went wild when the Gig Buddies dancers went past. It is an event I look forward to participating in again for sure!
- What would you say to someone reading this who is thinking about volunteering with Gig Buddies?
I would say, go for it! You won’t regret it! The Gig Buddies community are a passionate and welcoming group of people, and the staff work extremely hard to support all participants through their journey. The Gig Buddies team did a fantastic job of preparing me for the volunteering experience through their training program. I found it really informative and it helped me feel confident as a buddy heading into the experience.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a gig buddy with Chelsea and for the fun and memories that we have created over the past three years. Not only have I formed a great connection with Chelsea as her buddy, but with the wider Gig Buddies community as well. Every event has felt extremely inclusive, warm and inviting and I always walk away with a big smile on my face and a feeling of anticipation for the next event.
Come see what it’s all about!
Having 151 buddies currently matched up means we have another 150 stories to tell! A huge thank you to Megan for being the first to appear in our ‘volunteer vault’.
We hope Megan’s words resonate with our existing volunteers - and with those who are also thinking about signing up.
We need you!
And on that note, we’re always looking for newbies.
If you’re interested in knowing more, why not check out our dedicated ‘volunteers wanted’ pages for both Sydney and the Central Coast? Just jump on the links to read about buddies who are waiting to find their ideal match.
I can do it!
Do you fit the bill, or do you know someone who would make a wonderful volunteer? You can connect with the Gig Buddies Sydney and Central Coast teams via Facebook, text or phone call (0402 708 814).
Out and about
Last week we dropped our August gig guide.
Tickets are still available for our flower making, live music, drag bingo and our Western Sydney hub launch events.
To find out more about our August outings (and to sign up), load up the links below:
Let’s get quizzical!
As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, we’ve made a change to when our online socials take place.
Beginning this week, all future online gatherings will be held on the final Thursday of each month, from 8 - 9pm.
To kick off our new routine, we invite you to join us on Zoom for our ‘what’s in a number’? quiz.
Kahoot! apps at the ready! Do you know the emergency telephone number for the UK? Or the distance in kilometres between Sydney and Melbourne? We’ll be asking a series of questions, all of which will have a number-related answer.
In addition to Thursday’s online trivia, we also invite buddies to connect with us at 4pm tomorrow (Tuesday 26/7) for our weekly chat. To attend get in touch via text: 0422 061 990 or Facebook Messenger.
And to find out more about this week’s online offering (and to sign up), load up the link below:
All online games will take place via Zoom. For information on how to use Zoom, load up the following easy read guide written by Learning Disability Wales. Alternatively, click here to check out our 'how to use Zoom' video.
Gig Buddies quizzes takes place on Kahoot!, an app that can be downloaded from the app store. All participants are required to download this app. For more information about how to access Kahoot!, click here to load up our easy read guide.
To take part in any of the Gig Buddies quizzes buddies will need access to 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 or would like more information, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call/SMS us on 0402 708 814.
Front and centre
On the subject of our events, thanks to everyone who rocked out with us last Friday (22/7).
We headed to Gymea Hotel to sample the sounds of the Jellybean Jam Party.
To see more photos from Friday’s outing, click here.
It’s great to welcome our newest matches to the family.
Say hello to Nelio and Jan (top, L - R), Georgia and Cleo (left, L - R), Mikey and Alex (right, L - R) and Steph and Erica (bottom, L - R).
An NDIS Update
As you may have noticed, from July 1 2022 the NDIS increased the price limits for services by 9% to address known cost pressures on providers. These changes cover:
Changes to the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services (SCHADS) Industry Award
Costs associated with managing the COVID-19 pandemic
NDIS quality and safeguards regulatory requirements
Fair Work Commission’s recent wage decision
Superannuation guarantee charge increase.
The Annual Pricing Review showed the cost of delivering core supports was higher than anticipated during 2021-22, as a result of the impact of COVID-19 and quality and safeguarding requirements.
From a Gig Buddies perspective, the important things for our buddies and their families/support to note are:
Participants’ plans will be indexed and all current NDIS plan budgets will be automatically increased to account for the price limit changes. You may have already noticed this change in your plan implemented from the NDIA.
All buddies with a CURRENT Gig Buddies Service Agreement in place (i.e. they have not yet expired) will not be changed.
From 1st July 2022, all new Service Agreements (i.e. agreements for new buddies and also renewed agreements for existing buddies) will adhere to the new pricing arrangements set by the NDIA. You can see these prices on our NDIS page by clicking here.
And for more information about the Annual Pricing Review, click here.
Please reach out to Chelsea (Gig Buddies NDIS Coordinator) on 0412 145 819 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this in relation to your Gig Buddies' Service Agreement.
COVID-19 Vaccinations update
The NSW Chief Health Officer has extended the current exemption that allows workers (and volunteers) who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to continue to work if they have been assessed as being essential to the operation of the service.
All workers (and volunteers) who have not yet received their booster must also take reasonable steps to get the booster as soon as practical. The exemption has been extended to September 6 2022.
If you haven’t done this yet, it’s important that you send the latest copy of your vaccination certificate to Gig Buddies ASAP. The certificate must show the dates on which you have received all THREE doses of the COVID vaccine.
Similarly, for those who have been granted an exemption from a medical professional, we require a copy of any relevant documentation.
You can access your vaccination certificate through your Medicare or MyGov account. Please send this certificate to email@example.com or via text/WhatsApp it to 0411 252 228.
Matthew, Carol, Tony, Bec, Chelsea, Xena and Aylin
Would you like more information about Gig BuddiesSydney? You’re only a click away. Connect with us via the links below.
Fancy revelling in legendary status? If so, please support us in our cause to get more people out to live events in Sydney.
Donations over $2 are tax deductible and all are gratefully received.
The Gig Buddies Sydney project is an initiative of ACL Disability Services.