Falkirk learning disability dating organisation wins Volunteer Friendly Award

A Falkirk-based dating and friendship agency for adults with learning disabilities has earned a national accolade for its efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:47 pm

The area’s Dates-n-Mates branch was presented with the Volunteer Friendly Award by CVS Falkirk in recognition of the group’s “phenomenal achievements” in recent years, especially during lockdowns.

The organisation was rewarded for going the extra mile to involve and demonstrate its commitment to those who help to run the group’s activities by moving events online and running Zoom groups to continue providing social interaction for its members.

The Volunteer Friendly Award has recently been redesigned by Volunteer Scotland and the TSI Scotland Network.

Dates-n-Mates Falkirk volunteers (from left) Carolyn Dick, John Clarke and Emma Murray. Contributed.

Emma Murray, regional lead for Dates-n-Mates West of Scotland, said: “During Covid-19 it was essential we provided opportunities for our current and new members to meet virtually and create connections and relationships to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

“Our four branches in Aberdeen, Falkirk, Glasgow and Renfrewshire met virtually for a variety of fun events which allowed for adults with learning disabilities all over Scotland to connect.

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“Before Covid-19, volunteers played a vital role in hosting face-to-face social and dating events for our members and their continued support throughout the pandemic has been essential to ensuring our virtual Zoom events were beneficial.

“Volunteers have continually supported our work and without them Dates-n-Mates wouldn’t be the same.”

Lynsey Hansford, of CVS Falkirk’s volunteering team, also congratulated the organisation on its achievement.

She said: “It's been a pleasure to work with Dates-n-Mates, supporting them to achieve the Volunteer Friendly Award for the first time.

“What shone through for me was how inclusive their volunteering programme is: they really support their members who have a learning disability to help within the project, in a way that suits them and their circumstances, as well as recruiting volunteers externally.

“We can't wait to see their in-person events running in Falkirk again very soon, and would encourage anyone interested in becoming a member or volunteering their time to help to get in touch.”

For further information on Dates-n-Mates and the activities its volunteers offer, visit the Facebook page or call 0141 427 2957.

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