GIG Buddies Bradford, run by the learning disability charity Mencap, have announced their first gig back since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The project which matches people with a learning disability with a volunteer to go to gigs and enjoy nightlife activities together, aims to reduce loneliness and promote social inclusion for young people with a learning disability.

On Thursday 23rd September 2021, Gig Buddies Bradford will host an epic celebration at Kala Sangam with music from LD band, the Ectix and dance from Gig Buddy Tessa!

Currently, there are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK with many facing social isolation and exclusion everyday – something that the coronavirus pandemic has only made worse.

Gig Buddy Katie, who has a learning disability and autism, said: “I’m really excited to attend the celebration event.

“I can’t wait to see all the buddies and listen to some live music for the first time in ages.

“I’ve never been to Kala Sangam so I’m excited to visit.”

Even before this, one in three young people with a learning disability spent less than an hour outside their homes on a typical Saturday.

Gig Buddies aims to change this.

Throughout the pandemic Gig Buddies has continued matching pairs and meeting virtually, hosting lots of gigs and events online to keep people with a learning disability connected throughout the pandemic but this gig will be the first gig in person for many.

Gig Buddies hope this gig is one of many more to come and one that creates a safe and welcoming space for people with a learning disability to come and express themselves creatively and feel connected to their local community.

Alex Corwin from Kala Sangam said: “After eighteen quiet months, we are so excited about filling Kala Sangam with audiences and artists once again!

“As an Arts Centre, we want to bring joy and delight to people after such a difficult time and whether it’s Kapow’s innovative and unique show, which will transform our car park, a magical children’s adventure (featuring glittery bird poo!) or stunning Sufi music we have a fantastic range of events on offer this autumn.

“Keeping everyone safe is our top priority, and we will be continuing our enhanced cleaning regime and encourage mask wearing, as well as checking temperatures on arrival.”