Berkshire

People with disabilities helped to date with NHS grant

A £50,000 NHS grant is being used to help people with learning disabilities to find a partner.

The Ark charity, in Crowthorne, is using the cash to work with community teams in East Berkshire NHS and Wokingham to find volunteer chaperones.

Called the Umbrella project, the initiative provides a matching service to help people make friends.

It also includes sessions on sexual health awareness and relationship skills for those who sign up.

Chaperones will be involved in assisting those who sign up to go on dates by offering encouragement and support.

Scott Waller, from the Ark, said it was difficult for people with learning disabilities to "get out and meet people".

"We feel that people with learning disabilities should have every opportunity to have the best quality of life that they can and that includes having relationships and going on dates," she said.

The Umbrella is due to be launched in January once volunteers, who will be trained in-house at the Ark, have been found.

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