First post-Covid gig for learning disability buddies in Hull

A project which helps people in Hull with learning disabilities enjoy live music has held its first gig back since the start of the pandemic.

Gig Buddies Hull, which is run by the charity Mencap, pairs people up with volunteers to go to events with, aiming to combat loneliness and promote social inclusion.

Tonight the project held a special celebration where some of the gig buddies pairs performed music themselves at Wrecking Ball Music & Books.

The gig buddies have been meeting virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic and hosting events online.

Gig Buddies are hoping this gig is one of many more to come to create a safe and welcoming space for people with learning disabilities

Speaking before tonight's event, Gig Buddy Liam, who has a learning disability, said: "It's going to be really nice to see people face-to-face after so long of talking virtually. I'm mostly looking forward to the social aspect, we've been lonely for so long it'll be nice to be with people again and listen to live music together.

"I'm grateful to Emily for managing to put this together and give us a sense of freedom and normality back into our lives. If it wasn't for the Gig Buddies project, people with a learning disability would struggle to find things to do, a big thank you to Gig Buddies and to Wrecking Ball for having us."

There are more than 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK, with many experiencing loneliness and isolation every day - something which the pandemic has made even worse.