Big Night Out: Meet 'N' Meet
Romance and friendship was in the air as people with learning disabilities had their own social arena to start new relationships.
The U-Night Group, a Lancashire-based community interest company which provides various events and parties for people with physical and learning disabilities, launched its new project, Meet ‘N’ Match.
More than 75 people with learning disabilities attended the friendship and dating event at Preston North End Football Club to socialise, dance and have fun. The party-goers enjoyed two sets of live entertainment from duo Tabu, a dance lesson from Hot Foot Dance Company and a disco.
There was also a raffle and photo booth to capture the fun.
Lucy Hamlin, project and events co-ordinator of the U-Night Group, said: “Everyone had a really good time and bonded well.
“One person swapped numbers with another at the event, which is a good sign. There were a few shy people, but everyone chatted to each other.
“We hope to put more of these events on across Lancashire, working in conjunction with other similar activities in other areas, such as the Fylde, Burnley, and Lancaster.
“Finding a relationship is just as important to someone with disabilities and it is just has hard. They can find friendship or something more.”
The U-Night Group has received a two-year grant of £50,000 from Health Heal raising money to address health inequalities through The Health Lottery, which has enabled it to set up the agency which will support love and friendships for people with a learning disability in Lancashire.
Sue Sharples, U-Night group founder and chairman, said: “Generally, people with a learning disability have limited opportunities to meet their peers and to form lasting connections. Our current members have told us that this leads to them feeling lonely, isolated and depressed.
“We hope that this will be one way of improving peoples physical and mental wellbeing, whilst opening up possibilities for the kind of relationships that others take for granted.”
The team is now taking applications from people who want to become members of Meet ‘N’ Match, a friendship and dating agency, to find friendship, companionship and love. U-Night holds monthly events across Lancashire. To find information on an event, visit www.ormerodtrust.org.uk/u-night/