They say love can find you when you least expect it. Now, thanks to a unique friendship and dating group in Aberdeen and a £319,228 Lottery award, people with learning disabilities will have that chance to find their special someone.
Dates-n-mates, run by C-Change Scotland, is already changing lives in Glasgow and Renfrewshire and will now do the same in Aberdeen over the next five years. Here John Paul Moffat, dates-n-mates Glasgow Director, tells us more about the Aberdeen project and its one year pilot:
“Dates-in-mates, our dating and friendship agency, is run by and for people with learning disabilities. Having operated in Glasgow for eight years, we knew there was a lot of interest from people in Aberdeen, many of whom would often travel down to our Glasgow events to meet new people. Having secured one year’s funding from Aberdeen City Council for the pilot project we were delighted to launch dates-n-mates Aberdeen one year ago in the city’s Rox Hotel. We hoped that lots of people would attend and that they would enjoy the evening. Who knew that over two hundred people would attend with many joining up as members on the night?
Over the following year we’ve run over twenty events in Aberdeen including Speed Meets, sports activities, creative arts sessions, theatre trips and some members even attended the T in the Park music festival. All of these events were run and organised by members with the support of the dates-n-mates Aberdeen team. At one of the sporting events a members said, it was an “awesome event, I like the games, the venue and the people”. At another event someone said: “it is nice to mingle with people you know and to meet new people”.
We are delighted to have secured Lottery funding for our project for the next five years. We exceeded our membership target in the pilot year and aim to build on that success. We have an exciting range of events and activities planned that will ensure that even more people benefit from the opportunity to make friends and develop relationships. We are excited about the future and in keeping with the spirit of the project we will leave the last word to a member who describes the benefit of dates-n-mates as, “having fun with people you may not know but get to know after a time.”