The Undateables hit screens for a sixth series this year featuring FitzRoy’s Love4Life project. This vital project helps people with learning disabilities and autism find lasting friendships and relationships.
We sat down for a chat with our very own Cupid, Hayley Ostler, to talk about love. Hayley started with Love4Life ten years ago as a volunteer, and now works as the Project Coordinator.
What made you volunteer for Love4Life?
I grew up with someone that had down’s syndrome who was my best friend. When I left college I no longer had that best friend with me, and I realised that I wanted to work with people with learning disabilities.
Why do you think the project is important?
We all remember our first kiss, but for people with disabilities that first kiss may never happen. Love4Life reduces isolation and gives people the opportunities that they didn’t think were possible like making a friend, getting a job, or finding a lifelong partner. For many of our members, it’s their only social outlet. It’s important because they can be in a safe environment and make lifelong memories.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I have made an impact on people’s lives for the better. I have helped people discover their best friend or find their soul mate. Some members have even moved in together and got married! I love my job because I get to feel like Cupid every day.
What does the future of Love4Llife look like?
Being on The Undateables is shining a light on the barriers people face and the show does a great job breaking down the taboos that can mean intimate relationships can be out of the reach of many adults living with a disability. This is fantastic and we hope this will go a long way to helping us reach more people looking for love and friendship in the future.
Why do you think love is important?
I think you learn a lot life lessons from love, like how to think of someone but yourself. Love is as important as food and shelter, it makes you feel better about yourself â happier. It can also help self-esteem and well-being. Everyone deserves the chance for love.
What’s your favourite moment working for Love4Life?
Being asked to be a maid of honour at a members wedding, because I played an important role in the couple being in a relationship.
A big thanks to Hayley, who is flying the FitzRoy flag for love! Look out for her in Channel 4’s âThe Undateables’ on Monday’s at 9pm. If you would like to know more about applying to be a member, click here.
FitzRoy’s Love4Life project runs events, opportunities for socialising and provides safe ways for people with learning disabilities to date. It’s a project made possible purely through donations and we cannot run it without generous supporters.
Funding for our vital project is coming to an end in March, and we need your help to keep Love4Life’s heart beating. Click here to give a gift online today.