Sarah Paterson – Winner in The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2019

December 4, 2019


We can now reveal dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director Sarah Paterson a winner in The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2019 in the Category of Local communities.

This list highlights the remarkable achievements and contributions that people with learning disabilities and/or autism make to their communities.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges with expertise and relevant lived experience.

Click below to find out about Sarah’s story and why she is so deserving of this prestigious recognition:

A wonderful and well deserved achievement. Well done Sarah!


A fond farewell to Aberdeen colleagues

April 3, 2019



Lisa has been with the C-Change Aberdeen for over a year now and has been absolutely fantastic asset to all teams (top left in picture). Her work colleagues and the people we work for will miss her. We all wish her the very best of luck in her next adventure.

James would also like to say a huge thank you to his Personal Development Worker, Margaret. Margaret left the organisation at the end of February 2019 after supporting James for a year and a half. Margaret has been fantastic asset to the team and support for James. She was dedicated to the people we work for and always stayed positive. Margaret loved supporting James at his allotment and together they have made numerous improvements such as putting up a summer house, planting new vegetables and fruit trees.

Autism Awareness Day: Sarah’s Story


Tuesday 2nd of April is Autism Awareness Day.


dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director, Sarah, is sharing her personal story of living with Autism and how she has gained independence (see below).


Hi, My name is Sarah, I’m 22 years old and I have Autism.

I was diagnosed when I was 3 years old when my grandma who worked with children with additional needs at the time, noticed I was showing signs. My mum and dad saw the health visitor & the doctor referred me for an assessment at the Raeden Centre, where I got diagnosed very quickly. I also had echolalia which is repetition of speech. I would only use single words. I didn’t talk properly until I was 6 years old, when I started school.

Growing up was difficult for me

I was never able to express my emotions or communicated properly. I was never comfortable around groups of people because I was never used to it before, I didn’t know how to communicate or include myself in conversations and activities with people. Whenever they would attempt to involve me, I would push them away and lock myself in the toilets at school, due to my anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.

I couldn’t and to this day cannot cope with some noises and sounds that lead to sensory overload, including motorbikes, horns, fire alarms, police cars and ambulances driving by, multiple people talking at once, etc.

I preferred having a small group of friends instead of a big group. If I was stuck with my work at school, I would find it hard to put my hand up and ask a teacher for help. I used to put myself down for being different but realised later when I got older that I was able to accept that I may have this condition but there is nothing wrong with being different and I can love myself.

When I finally left school at 16 I was able to do whatever I wanted and went to college. I saw it as a new chapter in my life and didn’t want to be the same shy and quiet person I used to be because I wanted to start increasing my confidence and communication skills by meeting new people. I met some great people and made a couple of friends there and felt happier at college than I ever was at school, I became more open and not let anything bad get to me and learnt to let things go.

Despite dealing with anxiety and depression, I’ve made a lot of achievements. I completed my bakery course at college, I started my first job as a director for dates-n-mates – a dating and friendship agency for adults with learning disabilities. I met my boyfriend Ryan who I’ve been with for nearly 4 years, I’ve moved out and live with my boyfriend and our cat Misty.

I have finally gained some independence for the first time in my adult life. I feel so lucky and happy with everything I have.

I drew an autism puzzle piece and had it tattooed on my lower arm

I am so proud of having this tattoo because if someone asks what it means, it gives me an opportunity to talk about my experience living with the condition and being able to spread awareness at the same time.

One day, I would like to be an advocate for autistic people. I have been inspired recently by a woman from England called Sara, known on social media as Agony Auntie who is an advocate for autism who also lives with the condition and talks about her experience and does a brilliant job spreading awareness.

If you are living with autism and you are finding it difficult to feel included, don’t give up.

I thought I would never achieve my goal of increasing my social skills.

It takes a lot of time and patience to find our voice. When that time comes, you will be prouder of yourself than anything in your life.

This was my story and I hope you enjoyed it.

Sarah: dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director

Just In Case perform at Stay Up Late Scotland gig in Aberdeen

November 16, 2018



Two of the people we work for along with a Personal Development Worker, all from Aberdeen have formed a rock band.

The band called Just In Case performed 4 songs at the Stay Up Late Scotland Inclusive Gig Night at the city’s Beach Ballroom venue on the evening of Thursday 15th of November. The night included many bands and solo artists with and without disabilities.

Just In Case includes Paul Stratton on Drums, Shaun Sinclair on the Harmonica and PDW Jack Devall on Guitar.

They played 4 songs in total to an enthusiastic crowd.

Well done guys! We look forward to hearing more from Just In Case in future 🙂

Risking a Real Life conference in Aberdeen



Our Aberdeen team attended the ‘Risking a Real Life’ conference at the Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen on Thursday 15th November.

This was a conference looking at making good decisions together around issues of ‘risk and opportunity’ – how we enable risk rather than trying to manage it.

C-Change Aberdeen Support Advisor Ryan Murray was one of the speakers at this event.

This conference was organised and run by the organisation In Control Scotland.

Ladysbridge Stories Finale Event

May 21, 2018



We celebrated the finale of our Ladysbridge Stories project with our project partners Project Ability in Aberdeen on the evening of Wednesday 16th of May. This took place at The Rox Hotel in Aberdeen City Centre (directly after our Being Human Conference).

Ladysbridge Stories was a year long social history project on the former Ladysbridge hospital in Banff (Aberdeenshire). This involved former residents (labelled as ‘Patients’ at the time) telling their stories and creating art describing their experience of life in the former hospital.

The Finale Event was an opportunity for everyone to let their hair down and celebrate!




There was some heartfelt and touching speeches from project participants and former residents of the hospital followed by a buffet and some upbeat and lively tunes by DJ Kit Kat Kenny.

To find out more about Ladysbridge Stories visit the following dedicated website for the project:

Click here to view photos from the Celebration Finale Event via Flickr
Click here to download our ‘memory map’ project memento

A big thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding this project.


Being Human Conference – Aberdeen, May 2018


This was the 3rd in a series of conferences on the subject of Human Rights and Self Directed Support hosted by C-Change Scotland. The conference was held at The Rox Hotel in Aberdeen on the afternoon of Wednesday 16th of May.

We welcomed 130 people to this sold out event.




We heard some great talks and inspiring stories over the course of the afternoon.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all our speakers.

Many thanks to Sam Smith (C-Change Scotland CEO), Kenny Bruce (Individual C-Change works for), Ryan Murray (C-Change Aberdeen Support Advisor), Gordon Paterson (Care Inspectorate), Jess Wade (Self Directed Support Scotland), Shayo Lai and Marnie MacDonald (Scottish Care), John Swinton (University of Aberdeen), Paul Stratton (Individual works for) & Shona Perfect (Paul’s Mum).

All talks were very relevant and engaging. We were privileged to be joined by such inspirational people.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the members of our Panel.

Lesley Dunbar (Aberdeen City Council), Jane Russel (ACVO and Volunteer Aberdeen), Dame Anne Begg (Former MP & Disability Rights Campaigner) and John Gallon (Disability Rights Campaigner)

It was a fantastic discussion and we very much value your contribution.


Kenny’s Story (Shown at conference)

Paul’s Story (Shown at conference)


Click here to download our Conference Programme (PDF)

Click here to download our ‘Being Human – Challenging the norms in health and social care for people with disabilities’ booklet (PDF).

Click here to view photos from the conference via Flickr


A massive thank you once again to everyone involved as well as everyone who attended. All helping to make the event such a success.


Videos of all talks will be made available in the near future.


Learning Disability Week and Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

May 14, 2018


We have two fantastic events coming up this Wednesday as part of Learning Disability Week 2018 and Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.

Our Being Human (Human Rights and Self Directed Support) conference will take place from 12:45pm – 5pm on Wednesday 16th at The Rox Hotel in Aberdeen. To find out more please visit:

The finale event of Ladysbridge stories with our project partners Project Ability will take place from 5:30pm – 9pm on Wednesday 16th at The Rox Hotel in Aberdeen. To find out more please visit:


BH + LS for socmed

Paul’s Story

May 4, 2018

Ladysbridge Stories Project – Finale Event Invite

May 3, 2018


Our Ladysbridge stories workshops in Aberdeen have now come to an end.

C-Change and Project Ability will be holding a finale event on Wednesday 16th of May at the Rox Hotel in Aberdeen from 5.30pm – 9pm (same day and venue as our Being Human Conference)

There will be a drinks reception, presentations, buffet and a Disco!

All Welcome to attend.

Click here to download event poster.

If you would like to join us please RSVP Sheryl Walker at C-Change;


Phone: 0141 427 2946