Director Views: John discusses relationships and working with Dates-n-Mates Falkirk

John Clarke became the new Dates-n-Mates Falkirk Director at the end of 2020. He has shared his thoughts on this new role with us and his experiences with meeting new people and relationships.

Becoming a Dates-n-Mates Director

I was a Dates-n-Mates member for probably about a year before becoming Director.

I was enjoying being a member because it was giving me something to do instead of being stuck in the house. There were lots of events and I was getting to meet new people, so it was good.

I wanted to be a Dates-n-Mates Director because I think I’ve got the skills to feedback information and take information to members.

I was over the moon that I was offered the job. I am finding the job quite good, it’s been fun.

I am enjoying taking part in zoom calls and meeting different faces from different Dates-n-Mates places like Aberdeen and Glasgow. When we were going to events in person, we were only meeting other Falkirk members. Since Covid it has been good to meet others.

Previous work and volunteer experiences

I have had loads of volunteering experiences. When I was at college, I volunteered at a news agent for work placement. I then got another job a couple of days a week, but it didn’t work out. I then volunteered at Oxfam charity shop for 10 years! I have also helped deliver shopping to people who couldn’t get out and about.

I was also chosen to go to Westminster to do a speech in front of MP’s with Enable. I feel quite confident speaking in front of others because of this experience, it was interesting!

Relationships and Friendships

I have had previous relationships, but they all ended… and I just seem to be mucked about and hurt. So hopefully, with dates-n-mates I will be able to meet the right person as well. As I am fed up being hurt.

I had a previous relationship with someone who is also a member. It was alright but because she was busy with her family, we didn’t see a lot of each other, so we decided to just be friends. We have managed to stay good friends and keep in contact by Facebook and phone. We visit sometimes and I get on with her and her family very well still.

I am happy to be friends with her… I don’t want to get back together because it might end up not working out again. I think its best to stay friends and keep that good friendship going. Friendships are important too.

Meeting new people

I like to meet new people and talk to them.

Sometimes I find it difficult because you don’t know the right thing to say to someone. You are scared about saying something wrong and hurting someone’s feelings.

Really, if you want to have a good relationship with someone you need to really know how to treat a person and the right words to say to someone. The last thing you want is to hurt someone’s feelings.

I would say to members to try and have more experiences talking to others in a zoom call and get clear on the right things to say to someone.

Dates-n-Mates Scotland

Dates-n-Mates is Scotland’s national dating and friendship charity run by and for adults with learning disabilities.

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Friendly conversations with direct experiences and opinions from people with learning disabilities brought to you by Dates-n-Mates Directors.

Dates-n-Mates will soon be hosting our first Annual Event as an independent charity.
“Love Without Limits: Upholding Human Rights” The event will be an afternoon conference. We will talk about:

• Human Rights
• Relationships, sex, and love
• Challenges people with learning disabilities experience

On the day, there will be speakers from Dates-n-Mates and other organisations, as well as some of our members sharing their stories.
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