First friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and autism launches at event in Bristol
Bristol’s first friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and autism launches this month with a party.
The new Luv2meetU service, which is run by national learning disabilities charity Hft, will celebrate its launch with music, food and games at Bristol’s Za Za Bar on the ground floor of Za Za Bazaar on Monday 23 September. There will also be information about the service available for potential members and their families, as well as carers, support workers and service providers.
The new service will be focused on supporting people with learning disabilities and their families to develop and sustain relationships, improve health and wellbeing, and extend their social networks. It has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
Simon Clarke, Project Development Worker at Hft, said that the team plans on running ten to twelve events a month in the community, including trips to cafes, bars and the cinema, outdoor activities and gaming, and any other activities that members express an interest in. They will also be running singles events, chaperoning dates and running events for different age groups and people on the autistic spectrum.
As Luv2meetU’s ninth branch, the new service extends from existing operations in the north of England. It is hoped that a further 80 - 100 individuals with learning disabilities will benefit from the service, which is open to people from Bristol and the surrounding areas.
Simon Clarke says programmes like Luv2meetU are essential for the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities and autism. “We’re delighted to be able to extend Luv2meetU into this new area, which doesn’t have any other friendship and dating agencies of this kind,” he says.
“We all have a right to make friends, go dating and maybe find love, and people with learning disabilities are no exception. We’re looking forward to welcoming lots of new members from Bristol, and offering them a new way to socialise, have fun and be themselves.”
Luv2meetU was originally set up as a pilot in the Leeds and Wakefield area in 2007, supporting 40 people to get out and about, socialise and build friendships. The team now supports around 250 to 300 people with services in areas including Bradford, Kirklees and Leeds, and has enabled dozens more to make friends and forge relationships.
The launch event takes place from 4pm – 8pm on Monday 23 September at Za Za Bar on the ground floor of Za Za Bazaar, Harbourside. It is open to any adults with a learning disability or autism, as well as families, carers, support workers and service providers.