Love and Friendship: Dates-n-Mates Scotland
Dates-n-Mates is a dating and friendship agency run by and for people with learning disabilities.
In 2008 a number of organisations, listening to the people they supported, recognised a common issue. Adults with learning disabilities were saying that they wanted the same opportunity for love and friendship they saw available to everyone else. Making and sustaining relationships can be difficult for anyone but more so for people with learning disabilities for many reasons; lack of opportunity, low aspirations on behalf of others, low confidence among some learning disabled people and systemic discrimination.
Dates-n-Mates was explicitly set up to challenge these negative assumptions and prejudices.
Also, to increase the belief and confidence of members about their right, as much as any other citizen, to a life with love and friendship. Dates-n-Mates was established to provide opportunities for people to grow their confidence, their network of friends and their social life. To cultivate their connection to their community and to develop their skills and abilities. To explore the possibilities for intimacy and romance, to fall in love, sometimes to be heartbroken and then to fall in love again. All of these are aspects that make life worth living.
This is achieved through social events, friendship matching, date chaperoning and training workshops. Each opportunity is influenced by our members preferences and supported by Directors with lived experience of a learning disability. Dates-n-Mates have over a decade of experience connecting people with learning disabilities across their branches in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Falkirk, Stirling, and Clackmannanshire.
One of our proudest achievement is Club LATE.
On Tuesday 10th of April 2012 Dates-n-Mates along with C-Change launched LATE – Scotland’s first fully inclusive club night. This was launched at the Arches in Glasgow. With over 200 people attending the launch night, it was clear that there was a demand for inclusive clubbing. The Arches Closed in 2015 so LATE moved to the O2 ABC. We had continued support from DJ Garry Spence, DJ Peter Bowers, DJ Rory Hoy and more recently DJ George Bowie.
On 19th April 2018, 6 Years after the Launch of LATE we started a Partnership with Include Me 2 Club. Club LATE now takes place on a monthly basis at G2 (The Garage), along with Club LATE Live with some great local bands and singers performing.
Though paused during the pandemic, the night has since gone from strength to strength.
Dates-n-Mates have recently started a similar club night in Falkirk, so even more people can benefit from inclusive clubbing.
Find out more about Dates-n-Mates: datesnmates.org.uk
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