Members of FitzRoy Love4Life, a friendship and dating project for people with learning disabilities, gathered to attend a Valentine’s ball. Love4Life Coordinator, Hayley Ostler, told us about it.
Our resident DJ queued up the slow romantic tunes while my band of amazing volunteers and I set up the hall full of love heart balloons, sweet stations, food, and drinks.
Over 40 members eagerly turned up, excited to see their friends and spend the night dancing together. Everyone was very happy and smiley which created the perfect atmosphere for the evening.
Among those that turned up were about 12 couples, some of which are also engaged to be married! All our couples were holding hands and looking really loved up which was wonderful to watch.
Everyone enjoyed throwing dance moves on the dance floor to Cha Cha Slide’ and holding one another in a slow dance to More Than Words’. It certainly felt like love really was in the air.
For 5 members this was their first time attending a Love4Life event who all left keen for the next social evening.
I left feeling that, for the people at the event, we had made a difference to their lives. The smiles I saw at the ball were priceless. Some of our members would never have dreamed of being able to meet so many friends and even possibly find love, and Love4Life has made the impossible a reality for them.
At FitzRoy, we believe that friendships and relationships are as vital as food and shelter. However, 1 in 4 people with a learning disability say they do not have any friends. This puts them at risk and leaves them vulnerable when out and about in public places.
Friendships and intimate relationships that most of us take for granted are out of reach for many adults with a learning disability, which is why we set up Love4Life, a safe place to have fun, make friends, and find love.
It is a service made possible purely by donations, and we need your help to keep Love4Life’s doors open and its heart beating. If you would like to give us a gift today, click here.