Unique city dating group lands £288k Lotto boost

A city dating and friendship agency for adults with learning difficulties has been awarded a £288,000 Lottery grant.

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The cash will secure the future for the next five years of dates-n-mates, which is the first project of its kind in Scotland.

It was set up five years ago to help address the problem of social isolation often felt by adults with learning disabilities.

The project is run by charity C Change, which is committed to supporting positive change in the lives of individuals and families with support needs.

It currently has 140 members who have access to half a dozen events every month.

Project co-ordinator Joyce Innes, said: "We are delighted to have secured this funding but just as important is the commitment of our volunteers, who give up their time to organise and attend social events with our members."

Events range from creative workshops to bowling and quiz nights, book clubs, day trips, meals out and speed dating.

Dates-n-mates, which has 15 volunteers, also stages big set piece social events like this year's Valentine's Day Ball being held at St Andrews in the Square, in Glasgow, and Club Late, at the Arches.

It is also planning "We've Got Talent", which will offer members the chance to showcase their talent in front of their friends, family.

Joanne Purdon has been involved with the organisation as a volunteer for more than two years.

She said: "It is really rewarding seeing people make new friends. My little girl has a learning difficulty so it might help me help her in the future."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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