Dates-n-mates Scotland is a dating and friendship agency run by and for adults with learning disabilities that is relieving loneliness across the nation. The aim is to provide opportunities for its members to meet new people, try new things and develop their social skills, confidence and independence.
Dates-n-mates is a project run by C-Change Scotland and is a national dating and friendship agency run by and for adults with learning disabilities. It operates in four locations, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Aberdeen and Falkirk, and the aim is to provide opportunities for its members to meet new people, try new things and develop their social skills, confidence and independence.
Finding “the one” can be a challenge but dates-n-mates runs supported first dates and helps would-be-daters with their confidence, social independence and personal relationship skills.
All branches provide a regular, varied programme of social activities for its 350 members. Events include everyday activities, like bowling, cinema trips or meals out, as well as memorable experiences like festivals.
Dating-specific events, such as Mix ’n’ Mingle, Blind Date and Take Me Out help members meet potential partners. They have an active membership of more than 350 members, and around 380 non-members attending open events, like Club LATE or Valentines and Christmas parties and have held 500 events since 2013 in Glasgow alone.
Lesley Miller, dates-n-mates' Project Lead, says: “The demand for dates-n-mates is increasing as attitudes to people with learning disabilities change and as there is increasing awareness of the physical health implications for people suffering from feelings of isolation and loneliness.
“Over the past five years member volunteering has significantly increased, with our Champions scheme proving successful. Friendly Face volunteers provide peer support at events to assist other members to mix and integrate.
“Members have also participated in video recordings and TV interviews, gone on stage to accept awards, co-facilitated meetings, training and staffed information stands. It gives them a great confidence boost.”
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