We all know how important friends and partners are to our happiness but for people with learning disabilities, loneliness and fear is often a haunting feature of their lives. The harsh reality is that they can end up isolated because they face abuse and harm when going out or using online dating services. Funding cuts mean there is little help available, yet the consequences end up costing individuals a huge amount. The lonely and isolated lives that people with disabilities endure lead to mental health issues, self-harm, risk-taking, and worse.
This is why FitzRoy are fundraising for a project, Love4Life, which puts an end to this loneliness and helps people with disabilities find love and find lifelong relationships.
This project is the reason a quiet lonely man or woman with mental health issues leaves the relative security of their bedroom. It is the reason they brave public transport knowing they will likely be stared at or whispered about. The reason they step out of their comfort zone. It gives them the very thing that we all crave. Friends. Understanding. Warmth. Love, and a feeling of belonging. The few hours at each event is a time to share problems with people who are going through the same thing. They can share their thoughts without fear of being judged, laughed at or looked down upon.
This feeling of being wanted and belonging to something outside of their bedroom is the foundations on which they grow and develop. Once they realise they have that support around them they soon find their voice, express their ideas and push their own boundaries. Their confidence grows and the natural progression is to improve other areas of their lives. Employment, Relationships. Suddenly the possibilities are endless and all because they have that foundation of support and encouragement which this project helps to provide. Mark Foster, Volunteer