Everyone needs love and friendship – but they’re not always easy to find. This is especially true for adults with a learning disability, who often lack opportunities to meet new people and to get out and about. The great news for people in Falkirk is that dates-n-mates, Scotland’s national dating and friendship agency run by and for people with learning disabilities is launching a local branch in their area.
Dates-n-mates offers its members a monthly programme of social and dating events in accessible venues. They also provide support for people to build their social skills with regular workshops like ‘What to Say After Hello’ and ‘Successful Dating’ and opportunities to volunteer.
Holly Millar, a Director of the organisation’s Glasgow branch says ‘It’s important to provide a service like this for adults with learning disabilities. It helps them to build meaningful relationships and improve their opportunities. People have a good time and they have a chance to mingle with other people, go new places and try new things.’
Holly, who has a learning disability herself, has worked for dates-n-mates since 2008. ‘I love being a Director,’ she says, ‘It’s great to see people making new friends as they can often feel socially isolated. Being a member of dates-n-mates really helps boost people’s confidence.’
Falkirk Council is funding dates-n-mates for the next 2 years to give people in the local learning disability community a wider range of opportunities to have a social life and create the relationships that we all need for happy and fulfilling life. Nikki Harvey, Service Manager with Falkirk’s Adult Social Care Service says ‘Loneliness and social isolation can have a severe impact on people’s health and well-being. Adults with learning disabilities need and deserve the same life chances as everyone else and we are excited to help dates-n-mates launch a branch in our area.’
Dates-n-mates Falkirk will hold a Christmas Party at Falkirk Stadium on Thursday 20th December as a taster event for any adults with a learning disability who are interested in finding out more.