A friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities across Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside launches this month with a party in Newcastle.

The new Luv2meetU service, which is run by the national learning disabilities charity Hft, will celebrate its launch with music, food, party games and pool at Newcastle’s Yates bar on Monday 29 January. There will also be information about the service available for potential members and their supporters, and anyone interested in volunteering.

Karen England, Project Development Manager, said that the team plans on running eight events a month in the community, including bowling, karaoke, pub quiz nights, and any other activities that members express an interest in. They will also begin running specialist events for people on the autistic spectrum in 2018.

As Luv2meetU’s eighth branch, the new service will extend existing operations in the North. It is hoped that a further 40 individuals with learning disabilities will benefit from the service, which is open to people from Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Members of L2MU at a recent celebration

Karen says programmes like Luv2meetU are essential for the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities. “We’re delighted to be able to extend Luv2meetU into these new areas,” she says. “There is a real need for this kind of service – research shows that people with learning disabilities frequently experience chronic loneliness, and many of the individuals we work with find it hard to meet people.”

“We all have a right to make friends, go dating and maybe find love, and people with learning disabilities are no exception. We’re looking forward to welcoming lots of new members from the Newcastle area, and offering them a new way to socialise, have fun and be themselves.”

The new service will be focused on supporting people with learning disabilities and their families to develop and sustain relationships, improve health and well-being, and extend their social networks. It has been funded by The Forbes Charitable Foundation.

Last year Luv2meetU celebrated its 10th anniversary. It was originally set up as a pilot in the Leeds and Wakefield area, supporting 40 people to get out and about, socialise and build friendships. The team now supports around 200 people, and has enabled dozens more to make friends and forge relationships.

The launch event takes place from 4pm – 8pm on Monday 29 January at Yates bar, Grainger Street in Newcastle. It is open to any adults with a learning disability and their supporters, as well as anyone interested in volunteering.

To find out more about Luv2meetU, visit www.luv2meetu.com or contact luv2meetU@hft.org.uk.

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About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently