The Leisure Buddies service is unique in the current disability sector because it involves matching a carefully screened community volunteer with a person with disability. Through shared interests and regular outings, buddies develop a genuine, informal, organic friendship outside existing relationships with family and paid staff. The Leisure Buddies service supports the person with disability to have a friend, participate in the community and to develop confidence and independence.
Our Leisure Buddies matching services cover these municipalities: Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, City of Melbourne, Glen Eira, Kingston, Maribyrnong, Melton, Monash, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, and Yarra
How you can become a Leisure Buddy
Inclusion Melbourne’s Leisure Buddies service links a volunteer with an adult with a disability so that they can share interests, goals and activities and develop a real friendship.
Leisure buddies are matched according to several factors such as where they both live and their shared interests and goals.
Buddies meet regularly. This might be weekly or fortnightly, on weekdays or weekends, depending on their goals and what suits both buddies.
It’s all about chemistry
Each match is unique due to the essential element of relationship that underpins all matches.
Some are long term, where lifelong friendships develop, while others are more focused on goals that are realised in a short time frame.
Everyone deserves a friend
Inclusion Melbourne began recruiting services in 1998 because we believe that everyone should have someone in their life who isn’t a family member or paid to be there.
Volunteering at Inclusion Melbourne is about embracing inclusion, building relationships with people from all walks of life and taking steps toward a future full of opportunities.
Volunteers offer authentic friendship and a genuine relationship based on freely given time, beyond that of a carer or supporter. Paid relationships do not usually evolve into freely given sustainable relationships.
The volunteer relationship is valued for its casual and relaxed nature in which community participation is supported, communication and social skills enhanced and interests developed.
Some participants have positive experiences with buddy volunteers that they wish to maintain or repeat into the future.
Volunteers must be aged 18 or older and be able to make a minimum 12 month commitment.
Inclusion Melbourne recruits buddies based on personal interests and location. We undertake thorough screening of all volunteers and provide volunteers with ongoing supervision, support and training.
Inclusion Melbourne offers NDIS participants the opportunity for personalised recruitment and matching with a leisure buddy, as well as ongoing support of the match.
The Leisure Buddy Program supports the objectives of the NDIS Act (2013) to “support the independence and social and economic participation of people with disability” and to “facilitate greater community inclusion of people with disability.”
For further information, please contact our Community Support Team on 03 9509 4266 or