dates-n-mates Renfrewshire Outreach Work & Evaluation

Renfrewshire Lens - 1

dates-n-mates Renfrewshire developed a pilot outreach model to identify adults with learning disabilities in specific areas of Renfrewshire and provide opportunities to connect and make friends and form meaningful relationships. Through our outreach work we are creating awareness of dates-n-mates and engaging those most isolated supporting them towards membership helping to reduce social isolation, build confidence and self-esteem, and improve the person’s ability to be active citizens and improve their overall health and well-being.

“dates-n-mates Renfrewshire is a great idea, and gives a better quality of life to all adults in this area. Whilst I put up the posters for events, many of our staff said I wish I had something like this to go too!” Councillor Audrey Doig

We have built positive relationships with a wide range of services and organisations including Health, Housing, and other statutory and non-statutory services and projects. In particular, 19 local pharmacies, 3 local councillors are actively supporting our outreach work as well as 2 Local Housing Associations, Advocacy Services, Carers Centre and West College Scotland to name a few.

Attending local gala days in the local community is helping promote dates- n-mates and reaching potential members.
Outreach

Fiona and Graham at Renfrew Gala Day (above)

Since launching our outreach pilot in August 2016 we have engaged with adults with learning disabilities who may have declined access to opportunities. As a result 24 new members have joined dates-n-mates, 6 of which don’t access any other opportunities.

We evaluated dates-n-mates Renfrewshire and the impact the project has for our members and their families. We sent out Evaluation forms to our members, to attendees of our large events, family members and Stakeholders. We also held a Focus group consisting of 8 members, 2 adult with learning disabilities that attend our ‘Large Open Events’ 1 parent and 1 Support Worker.

We looked at the impact on meeting new people, dating opportunities, visiting new places and trying new things and impact on confidence and self esteem. From our evaluation 100% off parents/carers agreed that members had met new people, furthermore 100% agreed that the project had increased members confidence while 66% agreed dates-n-mates had increased members independence.

We also held a Focus group consisting of 8 members, 2 adult with learning disabilities that attend our ‘Large Open Events’ 1 parent and 1 Support Worker.

We looked at the impact on meeting new people, dating opportunities, visiting new places and trying new things and impact on confidence and self esteem. From our evaluation 100% off parents/carers agreed that members had met new people, furthermore 100% agreed that the project had increased members confidence while 66% agreed dates-n-mates had increased members independence.

When asked what impact dates-n-mates had on family life:

“It provides me with somewhere to take M so that she can go with support and can meet people, have fun and dance. So much better than sitting in watching TV on her own. More like a normal life”

“I think it’s a wonderful organisation and everybody works very hard to give members value for money. Even if you only go to an event every so often it is still worth being a member as I opens lots of new doors. Thank you”

Feedback from our members showed that 100% agreed since joining dates-n-mates they had met new people while 68% agreed they had met new friends.

When asked what the best thing about being a member is:

“I enjoy discussing what’s going on at dates-n-mates”

“going to different places. It’s to give me a chance to meet new people”

Overall the focus on outreach work has had a positive impact on reaching those most socially isolated in the area and making new connections in the local area which will support collaboration in the future.

“I would love to do some joint working with dates and mates. Particularly for sharing ideas and creating opportunities for the people we support who are older and like calmer activities.” Services Manager