I thought I would start the first blog post with a little about what I do which has helped me understand the importance of social events – particularly for people who can often feel socially excluded – knowing they are able to be part of local events, socialise and just be part of something can make a very positive difference.
I currently work for a friendship and dating charity project for adults with learning disabilities in Aberdeen (I will come back to more information about this project in future blogs, hopefully).
I organise social activities/events, dating opportunities and more – it is so rewarding to help people socialise, make friends, find potential dates and see their confidence grow by being part of their local community. This is particularly true as many have experience of finding social situations a little difficult. Having previously worked in organising (mainly) business meetings in a hotel.. I can tell you now it makes a HUGE difference coming home from work knowing the events you have organised are genuinely doing something good for others and not to mention fun (even if the job pays less!)
Some of the social activities I have organised for the project include simple things such as an afternoon bowling within a group (which many of us would take for granted) to events such as a Valentines Ball. I have also had the opportunity to work on events such as our own take on popular dating shows including ‘Take me out’ and ‘Blind date’. It is a varied calendar which all have a focus on promoting inclusion, friendship and dating opportunities and confidence building among other outcomes. Having been doing this for a while now – seeing the difference in people and hearing their positive feedback of how much attending these events mean to the projects members – it really has become a part of me, a passion.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong at a social/community activity?
Have you ever wanted to go to an event however were unable to access the venue?
Perhaps you have and perhaps you have not – however I’m sure those of you who have not can imagine how annoying and excluding that can feel… many people with additional needs and/or disabilities may have felt like this on a regular basis. I have heard many stories of similar feelings from people I have worked with. Many times, when looking for suitable event venues or activities to participate in with the projects members I have came across barriers that try to stop us in our tracks. For example, the amount of venues which are not wheelchair accessible is quite ridiculous in this current time. I must admit before I needed to look for such accessibility in my current role I hadn’t realised the extent of this– many other people who don’t require these facilities may not be aware either. This is sad because until more people are championing for such access to be more widely available then changes will not be seen with any urgency.
However, I am pleased to say for each barrier or struggle we come across there are also on the other hand: positives, opportunities and even people there willing to work hard on improving things. Along with the great work I know the project I work for do for adults with learning disabilities there are many other organisations and people doing great things for many minority or disadvantaged groups in Aberdeen to ensure everyone is included and ABLE to participate in social activities. I hope to highlight some of them within this blog as it grows along with reviews, tips and other (hopefully) interesting blog posts regarding events in Aberdeen.
What benefits do you think you get from being part of social events? Please share with us in the comments.
Thanks for reading!