With no end to the ongoing lockdown in sight and with many of us missing gigs, seeing friends and all the other daily activities we previously took for granted, things are even worse for people living with learning disabilities, many of whom already spend every day in isolation due to a range of factors, including lack of support, not being able to access public transport, being frightened of going out at night, not having anyone to go out with and poor mental health.
In normal times, members of this community were supported by organisations such as Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies and regular Rock House events at the Green Door Store, but with no events to attend and volunteer buddies having to observe social distancing, this support network is not so readily available.
To help remedy this, Gig Buddies have created an online hub where artists, with and without learning disabilities, perform three times a week on Facebook. Coronafest takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 and 9pm. Local talent taking part over the past six weeks have included Daniel Wakeford, Pog and Asbo Derek but anyone, anywhere can participate. Gig Buddies Scotland are involved plus there’s an international element with the experimental Argentinian band Reynols’ guitarist Alan Courtis performing what should be a fierce set tonight (Monday 11th May) at 9pm.
These events greatly help people feel less isolated but this is reliant on them having access to a smartphone or pc. To help facilitate this Gig Buddies has launched an emergency appeal to raise funds to help them connect their participants who aren’t already online (and want to be) via a smartphone. Being online is something most people take for granted but without an internet connection, a time like this is a very lonely place to be.