National dating and friendship agency Dates-n-Mates is celebrating its tenth anniversary

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Dating agencies are a small, but growing sector of social care provision for people with intellectual disabilities. The research reported here is the first to explore, with 10 specialist agencies in the UK, why they were set up, how they operate, the barriers and problems they encounter and their success or otherwise in facilitating relationships for people with intellectual disabilities. A strong case is made for the proliferation of such services.

Historically, it was difficult for adults with intellectual disabilities to form relationships of their own choosing [ 1 , 2 ]. Negative attitudes towards their suitability for, and capabilities regarding, relationships and sexuality led to eugenic practices such as institutionalization including segregated living , forced abortion and compulsory sterilization in many countries around the world [ 3 , 4 ].

Adults with intellectual disabilities were simply not considered to have the same emotional, psychological or social needs for self-fulfilment as other people [ 5 ] leading to a denial of their human right to express their sexuality in any form [ 6 ]. Although there have been improvements in recent years, many people with intellectual disabilities remain sexually disenfranchised [ 7 ].

Salt et al. Romantic relationships are not the only kind which are difficult to achieve. Platonic ones too can be elusive: evidence suggests that, compared to the general population, more people with intellectual disabilities report having no or very few friends [e.

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To help all nurses and healthcare professionals during this period, we’ve made our most relevant articles and learning modules free. Your environmentally-friendly digital edition comes with links to further resources and access to previous issues. Emergency meeting set timetable to name replacements after chair and vice-chair resigned.

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First dates: sweaty palms and awkward hellos before you embark on a nerve-wracking experience which could actually change your life. Alongside all the usual worries of turning up on time and not spilling your drink, what is the dating world like for those living with a learning disability? Learning disabilities can make it even more challenging to find love in the modern age; especially if you struggle with social interaction. Even making friends can prove difficult and many people who have a learning disability can feel increasingly isolated in their search for a varied social life.

A charity project in Aberdeen hopes to tackle the struggle to make friends and find love head on however, and Dates-n-Mates promotes opportunities for people with learning disabilities in Aberdeen and Shire to form friendships, socialise with others, experience dating and find love. The initiative has seen people of various ages and abilities embark on dating for the first time. The national project is run by supported living charity C-Change Scotland, but has only been operating in Aberdeen for the last two years.

Some staff members have learning disabilities themselves and there are also a variety of volunteering opportunities within the project. With National Lottery funding secured for the future, the Aberdeen branch which is based in the city centre has recently run its own version of TV dating show Take Me Out. Put together by five members of staff, the event was a major success and some couples are now embarking on their third date.

The team provides support on every level, from organising days out to sitting in on dates for moral support.

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Vote now. 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.

Dates-n-mates is.

Natalie Valios reports on a project to promote well-being and fight loneliness that is winning admirers. While friendship is something most people take for granted, it can be more elusive for people with learning disabilities. Research conducted by learning disability charity Hft in with the people it supported in Leeds found meaningful friendships and relationships were the biggest things missing from their lives.

Hft sought advice from Stars in the Sky , a London-based dating and friendship service for people with learning disabilities, and in Stars in the Sky Yorkshire was born. L2MU runs several social events each month for members, and provides a matching service for people wanting to develop a relationship. All of this has a clear social care focus. One is Bradford Council. The project is also run in Calderdale, north-east Derbyshire and Sheffield, and a support development worker is being recruited for Kirklees.

Social care workers often refer individuals to the service and project staff also signpost members to appropriate professionals for support, for example around sexuality and sexual health issues. But with the Big Lottery funding due to come to an end in March and local authorities often only putting in money for the first year, it is looking for future funding opportunities.

Sexuality and Relationships

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I just want to be loved: Overcoming obstacles in search for a partner

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Dating agencies for adults with learning disabilities are a vital service that help individuals have an active, engaging social life but more are needed across the UK. This research was part of a wider project exploring support for adults with learning disabilities to find loving relationships. Across the UK there are just a dozen such dating services , with only one covering London and none in counties such as Kent and Cornwall.

They are all run as charitable organisations and rely on funding to operate. The researchers profiled 10 of these services , nine in England and one in Scotland, speaking with staff, their users and their families, to inform the findings.

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Dates-n-Mates, a national dating and friendship agency run by and for people with learning disability, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Scottish-based agency is a project overseen by national charity, C-Change, that supports people with a learning disability, mental health issues and other additional needs, empowering people to live their life to its fullest potential, whilst being active citizens within their community. The agency continues to develop the project that started out in Glasgow in expanding to include Aberdeen and Renfrewshire.

In addition, members can also take part in matched dating and training on relationships, sexual health and social etiquette. Events are held in a safe, friendly and inclusive environment. Anyone over 18 with a learning disability can become a member, giving them an opportunity to connect, make friends and develop meaningful relationships. I recently spoke to project lead for Dates-n-Mates Scotland, Lesley Miller, to find out more about the organisation.

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