A new Biggleswade crowdfunder could change the lives of adults with learning disabilities, as it opens up a world of fun, friendship and days out.
Gig Buddies offers adults with additional needs the chance to be paired with a volunteer who has mutual interests, seeing the pair form a friendship and attend gigs, football matches and more.
The team, currently based in Bedford, now wishes to extend its services to Biggleswade, Sandy, Ampthill and Flitwick, and has launched a crowdfunder with a target of £10,000.
Project manager Fizz Heseltine said: “We have pairs of gig buddies and they go to festivals, for dinner and to the cinema, stately homes, football, swimming, the theatre - all kinds of leisure activities.
“It gives people independence and the Buddies can go out more than once a month.
“Naturally, a friendship will form and organically grow.”
She added: “Could you imagine living your life and going to do the things that you want to do - but dependent on staff rotas?
“Having to be home by 9pm every night regardless of your plans. Some people were scared to go out, thinking that in the high street they would be victimised.
“This is life for many adults with learning disabilities - by donating some money you can be part of the change.”
Fizz and her friend Claire Crawford-Smith founded the community group Living It Up in 2009, which later became a Community Interest Company, and the team provides social and educational opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
Gig Buddies is one of the projects under this umbrella, and Fizz told the Chronicle what it meant to not only the Buddies, but their families.
She said: “They love it. One parent told us that on Valentine’s Day last year they were able to go out with their husband and without their adult child in tow for the first time in 30 years.”
It costs £650 in total to match one gig buddy (including expenses, a DBS check and insurance), so Fizz and Claire are hoping the community can find it in their hearts to spare some pennies to help form more friendships.