Dates-n-mates Aberdeen organises social events for people with learning difficulties.
A dating and friendship group for people with learning difficulties in Aberdeen has received a cash boost in the latest round of Lottery payouts.
Dates-n-mates offers members the chance to meet new people – and possibly find love - through organised social events ranging from bowling to Halloween parties and karaoke nights.
The project, run by people with learning disabilities, has been running in Aberdeen for a year during which it has given 60 people the chance to enjoy new experiences and make new friends.
It will now receive £319,228 from the Big Lottery Fund to expand its programme and help more people over the next five years.
Whether it’s finding love or developing and sustaining long-term friendships, the service will make a huge difference to the lives of many people
Joan Smith, from Aberdeen, said the charity had allowed her to try out new activities and improved her confidence around other people.
She said: “I am really glad Dates-n-mates Aberdeen has got funding from the Lottery, it will mean we can plan ahead more.
“I have met lots of new people and got to know them through the events. I look forward to meeting up together and we always have a laugh.”
The group is part of the C-Change network, which works to empower people and communities across Scotland. It follows in the footsteps of Dates-n-mates groups in Glasgow and Renfrewshire.
Sam Smith, C-Change chief executive, said: “Relationships and friendships are key to a good and happy life.
“Dates-n-mates members in the greater Glasgow area tell us that the relationships they have formed through the project have made a positive and lasting difference to their lives. The Grampian pilot project, funded by Aberdeen City Council, highlighted a similar level of need.
“C-Change Scotland is delighted that the Big Lottery has recognised the positive potential of this project by awarding funding to support the development of Dates-n-mates Aberdeen for the next five years.”
The Aberdeen group is one of 27 Scottish projects that will benefit from £4.9m of Big Lottery cash in the latest round of funding.
Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland chair, said: “I am delighted that Dates-n-mates Aberdeen will be able to expand and develop their activities thanks to this funding.
“Whether it’s finding love or developing and sustaining long-term friendships, the service will make a huge difference to the lives of many people, along the way increasing their confidence and self-esteem and giving them greater independence to enjoy new activities.”