Transcript: Dates-n-Mates nightclub for people with learning disabilities

Michael McEwan of Able Radio catches up with John Paul, a Director of Dates-n-Mates, at the Arches to talk about Late, Scotland's first inclusive club night for people with learning disabilities.

Podcast Episode: Dates-n-Mates nightclub for people with learning disabilities

Category: Disability 



What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

MM - Michael McEwan
JP - John Paul

MM We are at the Arches in Glasgow for the ‘Late’ event, it’s Scotland’s first fully inclusive club night for people with learning disabilities and one of the Directors is here from Dates-n-Mates, John Paul. Now, John Paul, before you tell us a bit about the campaign, can you first of all tell us a bit about what is Dates-n-Mates?

JP Yes, no bother, Michael. Dates-n-Mates is a dating and friendship agency and we are run by and for people with learning disabilities in Glasgow. We’re Scotland’s first dating and friendship agency and we launched in 2008, in what was known as Learning Disability Week. So it’s a way where people with learning disabilities can make friendships and look for and sustain long term relationships.

MM So how many members have you got overall?

JP So far roughly about 100, 140, that kind of varies, a lot of people sign up and it’s a yearly membership that they sign up for and it’s … so people come and people go, so it’s roughly 100, 140s type just now.

MM And you’ve got lots of different Dates-n-Mates up and down Scotland, one in Aberdeen and one in Kilmarnock, is that right?

JP Well we have got one down in Ayrshire, they’re known as DM2 Ayrshire, and we didn’t help them set up, we gave them the best ways to help promote, they’re supported by Partners for Inclusion, so … but as I said, we went down to Ayrshire, or Kilmarnock, Ayr, and just helped them out with the recruitment and also like the best ways of promoting the organisation there. More recently there’s … you have got DM2 here, but there’s one through in Edinburgh called Get Together, which is known recently as Dates-n-Mates Lothian, and they get support through the Thistle Foundation.

MM So we are here at the Arches in Glasgow, it’s very noisy in here tonight because it’s a club night called Late, and it’s a campaign about people with learning disabilities. Tell us more about this campaign.

JP Well what’s standing out it’s telling people that like, as you said earlier on, it’s the first inclusive nightclub for people with learning disabilities, no matter what their age, people come not just from the Glasgow area, people come from Borders, like Central Scotland, Northern Scotland, and they come and enjoy themselves because they might not have occupied … had an opportunity like that to come along to an inclusive club night, so that’s our first one, well this is the first of three we are doing this year, but it’s a good way of helping people get out there and giving them more confidence so that maybe they could try other nightclubs in their local area.

MM So who came up with the whole idea of having a campaign about people staying up later than half 9 at night or something?

JP Well it all happened, in 2011, C-Change, which is a supported living organisation and who host Dates-n-mates, they done this thing … it was a 10 year celebration, it was like 10 events throughout the year to celebrate their 10 years, and one of the things was a Dragon’s Den, where you are getting something set up, so Peter Bowers, he’s known locally as DJ Bowers, he was wanting to know if we can get more radio equipment and maybe lights to start something, like to a club night at a local night club, so that’s when we started saying … we’ve heard that from our members as well, a lot of people saying we want to go to a club night and see what like it is. So when we got together with … it was a wee steering group and they came up with different names where one was Go, one was Stay Up Late, but because it fits in with the Stay Up Late campaign, it never really fitted, so we went basically on Late, because half 9 to midnight is late and the first one was in April 2012 and there’s been 2 in 2012, 2 in 2013 but 3 in 2014, so that’s where it all came from, was through kind of this, us working with Peter Bowers and also C-Change, The Arches, Dates-n-Mates to get all this set up.

MM So your Late campaign has been running for about 3 or 4 years now?

JP This is our second, no, I would say third year at Late … 2012, 2013 and 2014, so this is our kind of third year of doing it.

MM And you have been having a lot of people coming in to enquire about the night, just tell us what the feedback has been like from people that use Dates-n-Mates, but also coming into experience a club night for first time in their lives?

JP People say ‘I am really enjoying my time at Dates-n-Mates, there’s new opportunities for myself to gain confidence.’ That’s what a lot of people have said, quite a lot of people, whether they are Dates-n-Mates members, whether they are not, usually people say ‘I really enjoyed your club night at the Arches, when’s your next club night?’ And it’s the positive feed back we get from people saying that it’s a good way, like they’re really enjoying it, they’re really coming out and having a great time and that’s when people, as I said, people usually ask, ‘I really enjoyed Late, when’s your next one?’ Because what tends to happen is, they come along to every one and they seem to enjoy it and that’s when they keep on asking. So this year, we are doing the three, which will hopefully be more popular throughout the years, hopefully fingers crossed.

MM You mentioned you’ve got another two after tonight. Tell us the dates and tell us how people can go about getting tickets for these events.

JP Well we are doing one on the 26th of June and also October the 16th, and both of them are Thursday nights and the best way of getting tickets snapped up are basically calling up Dates-n-Mates telephone number, or mobile number and also Dates-n-Mates also drop off fliers to local organisations to get their members along and even a good way of … because that spreads it out because they are going out there and we’re promoting Dates-n-Mates … not just Late, but also Dates-n-Mates as well. It’s a good way to talk to other organisations about Late and get their members along, so that’s the best way, either phone Dates-n-Mates up, that’s the most important thing, phone Dates-n-Mates up, or we are on Facebook,, Twitter, just leave us a Facebook or Twitter message saying if you want to come along. Normally it’s £6 for members and £8 for non members, so if you were a non member you would pay the £8, members you would pay the £6 fee.

MM And we will put all the details on the website about Dates-n-Mates, but if people want to join Dates-n-Mates, how do … again, go through the phone number and the website, but just tell us one more time about roughly what’s a good way of joining Dates-n-Mates and what is the benefits?

JP Just the best way to join Dates-n-Mates is to phone us up, try and come along to one of our open events which happen usually 5 to 6 times a year, like for example, Late, that’s an open night, Valentine’s, Halloween, Christmas, just come along and there will be information there, but most importantly is to phone up and enquire about like Dates-n-Mates and we will send you out information about an information date.

MM Okay, that was John Paul, one of the Directors of Dates-n-Mates, and hopefully we will see you along at the next club night. I would like to thank John Paul for coming on to tell us about Dates-n-mates.

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