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'Gig Buddies' comes to Croydon

1st September 2017
A scheme that helps people with learning disabilities or autism attend gigs, plays or other live events is being launched in Croydon thanks to a successful council funding bid.

Volunteers are being sought to get involved with the Gig Buddies project, which will match them to an adult with a learning disability who find it difficult to get out and about on their own to enjoy live music, theatre, or comedy.

The project is being launched at Boxpark between 5pm and 7pm on 5 September, with DJs from the long-established Club Soda team on the decks. The evening is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Dennis Ellis, club goer, said: “I love going out but it can be really difficult. Having a gig buddy will really give me the confidence to be able to enjoy myself.”

Paul Barnard, Volunteer, said: “Most people take going to gigs and shows for granted. But for those with disabilities it can be a daunting experience if they have to go on their own. I got involved with this scheme because it means I can help someone do the things they love without fear.”

Gig Buddies was originally set up by the Brighton-based charity Stay Up Late, who have chosen Croydon as one of ten national partners to roll the scheme out across the country.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, said: “Nobody should be denied the pleasure of a good night out – and this project is an excellent example of how Croydon looks out for the needs of those with disabilities and learning difficulties.”

Club Soda will run ‘Gig Buddies Croydon’ in partnership with Croydon Council’s Learning Disability Commissioning Team. The team will help promote the use of person-centred approaches and will give training to all gig buddies.

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