- Protection from abuse
- Friendship and Dating
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- Kind-hearted woman set up dating agency to help people with learning disabilities find love
- Friendship and Dating
After I showed them to their table, then sat at the other end of the restaurant in case they needed me, there were a few awkward silences. The fact he had a disability was never an issue to me. I started off volunteering for the dating project eight years ago. I loved it from day one. At first, I helped the members put on shows. Social events are a big part of how the project is run — they help members get to know one another before going on dates.
Protection from abuse
Blind dates would make some feel anxious, so this takes the pressure off. After a while I trained in disability awareness and got involved with the dating side. Pre-date, I briefed them on some conversation etiquette and how the evening was likely to go. It was a new experience for them, and they were very nervous. I had butterflies too — it was like watching my own children! Part of my role is chaperoning couples on dates, so they feel as supported as possible. For example, they help each other with everyday skills, like managing money and cooking.
When it comes to the social side, Holly understands subtle jokes, whereas Ben may not, so she can fill in any gaps. I try to manage expectations right from the beginning. Last year Channel 4 contacted me, asking if they could film our work for The Undateables.
Friendship and Dating
Our members were overwhelmingly keen to take part, and that August, series six was aired. Watching our couples on TV made me feel so good. And Luke and Alice, who hit it off at the ice cream parlour, dated for a while, but have since gone their separate ways. Sadly, ignorance still exists, and not everyone feels the same.
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They have exactly the same rights as everyone else. Not long ago, the dad of a member called Matthew phoned me to say that since matching him with another member, Grace, his entire attitude and persona has changed. Attending our social events enabled him to make new friends, and he fell in love with Grace.
Being able to help transform lives feels amazing. For details of how to apply to or support Love4Life go to Fitzroy. Hayley with Sam and Luke Get daily news updates directly to your inbox Subscribe See our privacy notice More newsletters. Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice.
Subscribe to our Daily news newsletter Enter email Subscribe. This would equip people with the knowledge they need to enjoy relationships in a safe way. Not being open or only dealing with issues in a reactive way is more likely to leave people vulnerable to abuse. Professionals and caregivers also inappropriately apply the Mental Capacity Act to some people with learning disabilities, especially those with severe learning disabilities.
The act states that the capacity to consent to sexual relationships must be assumed unless proven otherwise and an unwise decision does not necessarily imply a lack of capacity. Research that reviewed cases on the capacity to consent to sexual activity highlighted failures in the implementation of the act and suggested a reframed capacity assessment informed by research into sexual decision making.
Special dating agencies can enable people with learning disabilities to find relationships and broaden their social networks. The decade has seen a growth of friendship and dating groups for people with learning disabilities, including HeartVenture , Luv2meetU and matesndates.
Kind-hearted woman set up dating agency to help people with learning disabilities find love
They match people interested in forming relationships and support them on their first date. Stars in the Sky, one of the first to be set up, by two women with learning disabilities, is now unfortunately closing due to financial constraints.
It also featured in The Undateables, and it is clearly evident from the series that support can enable people with learning disabilities to form relationships. And success is not only measured by a successful date but by the confidence that individuals gain by going on a date, too. I was struggling to find anyone on my own. And I want, I guess what every girl, woman would like to have partner or companion to share things with.
I hate being on my own and being miserable. Relationships have a positive impact on mental health and the well-being of people in general. This also goes for people with learning disabilities, and for it to happen their sexuality must be acknowledged.
Friendship and Dating
They need support to allow them the opportunity to form and develop relationships, and they should be empowered with the tools they need to consent to sexual relationships. Hopefully, if we get these things right, people with learning disabilities will be able to enjoy forming relationships in a safe environment, and fulfil their need to love and be loved. Back from the future, forward from the past: The journey that is lifelong learning — Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Back from the future forward from the past: The journey that is lifelong — Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. The evolution of the meaning of open education — Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Pets in Victorian paintings — Egham, Surrey.
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Available editions United Kingdom. Chido Ndadzungira , The Open University. Love by Shutterstock My research explores the views and experiences of women with learning disabilities on sexual relationships and as part of my PhD I gave them a platform to talk openly about this taboo subject. As Monica told me: When Barbara was asked why she had joined up, she said: As Georgia, one participant in a study , said: Protection from abuse People with learning disabilities — both men and women — are vulnerable to sexual abuse and need protection from this.
Monica, for example, said: