Well, we all did it! We made it through 9 months of restrictions, adapting our services and enjoying online activities in 2020. AND now we have completed our first full week of 2021 too!
Thank you for continuing to support Dates-n-Mates and our members and well done on everything you have achieved over the last year in your own life and organisations!
2020 In Review
Our aim has been to continue to improve the wellbeing of Dates-n-Mates’ members (and the wider learning disability community) by ensuring that they still had opportunities and the support to make and sustain friendships and close personal relationships.
To do this, we set up a regular programme of social activities online and worked to help and encourage Dates-n-Mates’ members and other people with learning disabilities across Scotland to participate and to interact with others. Members who were unable to access the internet were prioritised for regular ‘keeping in touch’ phone calls.
Throughout the last 9 months, Dates-n-Mates have offered:
- New ways to keep in touch with friends.
- Opportunities and support to make and maintain new friendships.
- Social interaction & connection to other people and the community.
- Light-hearted social activities that take their mind away from the current situation and provide some respite from worrying and feeling sad.
- Encouragement, training, and support to use the internet, social media & video calls.
- Regular online Coffee & Cake Committee meetings to ensure that all of our activities remain member-led.
Since April 2020, the Dates-n-Mates team…
- Provided 135 online afternoon chat and activity sessions.
- Hosted 68 virtual evening events such as salsa dancing, bingo, quizzes, and karaoke.
- Delivered online workshops on keeping safe on social media and safe from Covid-19.
- Delivered an online workshop on reducing stress and anxiety during this difficult time, developed and presented by one of our Directors.
- Joined together to offer activities nationally allowing members to interact with and form new friendships with others across all Dates-n-Mates branches in Scotland.
- Encouraged and supported members to develop digital skills on Facebook and Zoom.
- Supported members to build friendships (and a couple of romances) through our friendship matching video calls, zoom chats and virtual activities.
- Carried out around 500 ‘keeping in touch’ calls to digitally excluded members.
- Shared 34 Director Vlogs on social media
“I like having interaction with members from other branches… it is great to make new friends in different cities!”
“The phone calls have been great, the zoom calls have been great!”
“Dates-n-Mates gives me something to do and I really enjoy it!”
“Dates-n-Mates has given me company and let me meet new people!”
2021 – The first week
- 4 afternoon Zoom chat sessions
- Welcome back virtual party night
- Many keeping in touch phone calls!
- And a team of staff ready to develop our services and welcome more members!
Planned for the remainder of January and February:
15 evening virtual events, 1 safe surfing online training course & 4 virtual cooking classes!