A trip to the Emmerdale Studios, rock climbing sessions for people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, and supporting someone to take part in their first Gay Pride parade are among the case studies shared by a national learning disability charity to the Department of Health and Social Care as part of the government’s prevention strategy.
Hft, a national charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, has responded to the government’s consultation “Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s”, which asked for examples of how to promote good physical and mental health, before they become more serious health conditions.
Research shows that people with learning disabilities are more likely to experience loneliness and isolation than the general public. According to impact research conducted by Hft, over 94% of people that attended Luv2meetU events felt it helped improve their overall levels of happiness.
In response to the consultation, the charity used examples from its Luv2meetU friendship and dating services to showcase how people with learning disabilities can be supported to engage in social activities, and highlight the positive impact this has on their lives.
Karen England, project development manager at Hft, commented: “Over the past twelve years, Luv2meetU has supported over 360 individuals with learning disabilities to find love and friendship with others.
“During that time, we have expanded from Leeds and Wakefield to include services in Bradford; Calderdale; Kirklees; Sheffield; Cheshire; Newcastle and Bristol. We were thrilled to be able to share some of our success stories with the government in this consultation, and to show the positive impact social activities can have on an individual’s physical and mental health.
“Our Luv2meetU services have been made possible by the generosity of grants from organisations such as the Big Lottery Fund. We hope that by sharing this evidence, the government will ensure that sufficient funding is made available, so that organisations like Hft can continue to support adults with learning disabilities to make meaningful connections in their community.”