Two Cambridgeshire pals set up dating agency for adults with autism and learning disabilities in the region

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 07 February 2019

soulmate

soulmate

Archant

Two best friends from Stretham have created their own dating agency for those living in Cambridgeshire with autism and learning difficulties.

Christine O’Neil and Vicky Baddeley say they want to launch their agency, called Safe Soulmate, “in response to the issue of loneliness and social isolation” in the area.

The agency, which is not an online service, is set to launch following a free event held on Saturday, February 23 in Cambridge.

Christine, who has a background in the learning disability sector, said: “I realised that there was nothing in this area to help people who have some kind of additional need.”

The pair decided to launch the love searching agency after they received a large £10,000 funding boost from the Big Lottery grant.

Vicky, who works at a learning disability charity, said: “People not only want relationships, but many simply want a friend to talk to.

“We want to help bridge the gap and run fun events like club nights, picnic parties and gaming get togethers, as well as provide a one-to-one matching service.”

The Stetham duo visit people in their homes to find out what individuals are looking for – new friends, a relationship or both.

They will be working closely with Dhiverse, which runs workshops around the issues of friendships, relationships, boundaries, sex, and online safety.

“We recognise that it’s crucial for everyone involved to know what’s expected when they find that perfect partner. Our priority is for people to have fun in a safe way”, they added.

At the pair’s launch party there will be a silent disco, table magic, glitter/gem makeovers, a nail bar and more.

Food, a welcome glass of champagne and soft drinks will be provided. A paid bar will be available.

Vicky added: “There are two paid members of staff and we plan to recruit volunteers to act as chaperones and help at social events.

“We are also a friendship agency, because we are aware that many people are simply desperately lonely for friendship.

“Most social events will be held in pubs and other venues alongside mainstream community to encourage social inclusivity. We are also planning to organise club nights for members.”

For launch night tickets or to find out more information, email info@safesoulmate.org.uk or call Vicky on 07935 866219 or Christine on 07493 542963.

If you can’t come to the event, but want to find out more about their service, visit their website at www.safesoulmate.org.uk.

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