Guest Blog: Thoughts and Reflections from our Work Placement Student.
12 July 2018
We regularly have students from local schools and colleges undertake work experience placements with us here at Square Chapel, our host organisation for Gig Buddies Calderdale.
We often spend time with the students talking to them about the Gig Buddies project, Stay Up Late charity and the work we undertake to respond to access needs. This time, we asked our current student, Katy Armitage, to give us her thoughts about Gig Buddies and the question of access in general.
Here are her musings…
I think that Gig Buddies is a really important scheme as it allows people to access gigs and events that they may not have been able to access before. The way that people are paired up with shared interests is really important, as it gives them something to talk about and become more comfortable with each other through. It also means that they both would enjoy the events and the volunteer would be willing to go with their buddy. People with learning disabilities have also been able to make new friendships, as well as their buddies, whilst at the events which they might not have been able to do on their own. I think it is important to give people with learning disabilities the confidence to be able to go out and do the things they want, and to do this in a safe way with a friend is really good. Helping people feel less lonely through having a Gig Buddy is really nice, and doing such a small thing as going out to an event with someone is such a nice way to make someone happier and increase their confidence. It has also allowed them to make their own decisions about what they want to do, and I think giving people with learning disabilities their independence is important, and would be a genuinely nice scheme to be a part of.
The link between Gig Buddies and Engage is also very important, as I feel that people with learning disabilities are under represented in media and theatre. I especially like what Mind The Gap are doing to encourage visibility and how they allow people with disabilities to identify with the people on stage. I feel that being able to identify with someone who has been able to do something they never thought was possible would be very inspiring and encouraging. This representation doesn’t only apply to people with learning disabilities, as I think having a larger representation of the commonly under represented communities in Halifax would make even more people feel confident in themselves and who they are.
Square Chapel Arts Centre
The work that Square Chapel has done for accessibility and people with learning difficulties is very eye-opening, as previously I had little knowledge about Gig Buddies or Engage. I think that more people should be made aware of these schemes and the work that they do, and how they themselves can get involved and help other people. I also think it is important for people involved with Gig Buddies to possibly become involved with Square Chapel as volunteers. This would further raise awareness of the schemes, and also allow current volunteers understand what Gig Buddies is and how it has been able to help people. It would also help the Square Chapel community to become more inclusive as a whole, and this would expand to other areas of Halifax. Using specific events for people with learning disabilities in Square Chapel would help raise awareness, but I think it is just as important for this group of people to attend ‘mainstream’ events without any worry, to have fun with their friends and buddies.
Let us know your thoughts and comments below.