Love is in the air with the launch of a new dating and friendship group for people with learning disabilities in Falkirk.
And, appropriately, it begins with a get together on Valentine’s Day.
The doors open to Falkirk’s Dates-n-Mates agency with a Valentine’s party at the Leapark Hotel, Grangemouth, on Thursday.
It follows a trial event at Christmas attended by over 120 people.
The new group has a two-year funding package from Falkirk Council, and it aims to run a monthly programme of social and dating events in accessible venues in and around the area.
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Dates-n-Mates is open to adults over 18 who have a learning disability, and offers the opportunity to make new friends and build personal relationships.
It is already in operation in Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Aberdeen.
Lesley Miller, project Lead, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to Falkirk Council for all its support.
“Not only has it provided crucial funding to get the project up and running, but staff members also volunteered at our Christmas party and really helped it go with a swing.
“They know how vitally important it is for people with learning disabilities to have opportunities to make friends and find partners.
“They are keen to see local folk making the most of dates-n-mates.’
Nikki Harvey, service manager with Falkirk’s adult social care service welcomed the new organisation to town, and added: “It is increasingly recognised that loneliness and isolation can have a significant impact on people’s physical and mental health and well-being.
“The Scottish Government has recently launched ‘A Connected Scotland’, a national strategy to tackle these same issues.
“The launch of dates-n-mates in Falkirk is a great step forward in helping local adults with learning disabilities build happier and more fulfilling lives and we are delighted to be able to support that.”
The launch night, which is open to non-members, aims to build on the interest shown in the festive event, and get the new local group up and running.
John Paul Moffat, director, added: “We are so excited to launch dates-n-mates Falkirk and we’re really looking forward to the party.
“Our trial event at Christmas was attended by around 120 people and the Valentine’s event will be even more fun. We are also recruiting members now, so this is just the start.”
The launch is open to non-members. Tickets priced at £5 from HERE www.datesnmates.co.uk or call 07720 591236.