Safe Soulmate is a National Lottery-funded friendship and dating organisation in Cambridgeshire for adults with additional needs.
The group would normally be hosting face-to-face social events, dates and gatherings. The group aims to help its members find happiness in a safe environment; build-up their confidence and self-esteem; and reduce loneliness, isolation, and potential abuse when searching for new friendships or partners.
However, with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in place, staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure online support and social opportunities are still an option for its members – or “Soulmates”, as they’re known within the organisation.
Since lockdown began, there have been dozens of Zoom-based socials for the 83 soulmates, including quiz nights, movie nights, art sessions and a Tuesday girls’ night. The organisation is even about to start running a volunteer-led online “fitness bootcamp”, focusing on keeping people fit and active while at home.
For those who do not have access to online chat apps, Safe Soulmate is also running a phone buddy system service and conference calls; there is already a pen-pal scheme set up for those who prefer not to communicate face-to-face.
Lizzie is a Soulmate. She said about her experiences with the group:
“I really enjoy being part of Safe Soulmate and being part of something that allows you to be yourself and develops you as a person. Safe Soulmate has helped me with my self-confidence, to try new things and make new friendships. It’s been even more beneficial during lockdown to make and talk to friends via Zoom socials in the comfort of your own home.”