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Guest blog: KEEN Buddies!

KEEN Oxford is a youth-led charity which works to make the city a more inclusive place, by providing support and activities for young disabled people. They are currently looking for friendly young people to join their Buddies scheme, and we're thrilled to host this guest blog so that the KEEN team can explain what it's like to be a buddy...

KEEN Community Buddies is all about promoting inclusion in the community through friendship and fun activities! We create 1-1 connections between people with and without additional needs, based on shared interests. In an ideal situation, buddies meet up and do fun activities of their choice, from a trip to the cinema or a walk in the park to joining a sports club together. These activities aren’t possible under lockdown restrictions, but it turns out that having a buddy at a distance can be really fun too! Our buddies shared with us their favourite activities including playing charades, drawing and colouring Disney characters, making letters to Santa during Christmas, and sharing their favourite Mario Kart characters and power-ups!

One of our community buddies, Lizzy, tells us how much being a buddy has helped her too:

“Being a buddy is a really worthwhile thing to do. It’s guaranteed to be a positive experience. It’s so easy to get caught up with work or studying so taking time in the week to just have a chat and connect with someone is really important, especially at the moment where we’re all struggling with social restrictions and it feels like there is only ever doom and gloom in the news. It’s a great way to inject some positivity into your life!”

There are many benefits to being a buddy; you will not only make a new friend, but you will also develop new skills and knowledge. Being someone’s buddy isn’t just about giving! Yes, you will help them grow more independent and get involved in the community, but you will also learn so much yourself.

This is your chance to make a difference in your local community. Helping others is the secret to living a happier, healthier and more meaningful life. Those who reach out and connect with others boost their own happiness and mental health. It’s a win-win! We provide DBS checks and necessary training so you’ll learn some new skills too!

A lot of our participants have been particularly affected by lockdown, being unable to see their friends and stuck at home. Having a buddy has made a real difference, and one mum tells us: “Joseph loves it! He is always so excited before [talking to his buddy] for several days. He has been quite isolated and loved the idea of having a Buddy. Joseph has told other people about Molly and is very proud.”

Local communities are strongest when everyone is included. As a KEEN Buddy, you’ll directly help us reduce social isolation within Oxfordshire.

We’ve also got lots of exciting plans in the pipeline for our community buddies, including museum trips, outdoor adventures and a sports day! Sign up today so you don’t miss out, and support a young disabled person in Oxfordshire.

Find out more and join us today by visiting our website: https://www.keenoxford.org/keen-buddies

Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions: [email protected]


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