A dating service for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire will benefit from a charity music event to help prevent its closure. Mates n Dates is a dating and friendship service that helps people with learning disabilities to be like everyone else — to have friends, a social life and maybe a partner.

The service, which supports over 250 people, is facing major funding cuts and without a serious backer to fund them, it will shut down.

Workers and volunteers from Mates n Dates are organising a one off gig to celebrate the mates and dates we have around us everyday, and to raise funds to keep the service running. Members, aged 18 to 80, are assisted by the charity to make friendship and relationships a reality.

The service holds monthly social events, matches members through events like speed dating nights, and arranges dates, which are chaperoned within local cafes and pubs.

Initially Mates n Dates was set up to help reduce social isolation, loneliness and frustration felt by many people with learning disabilities, who find accessing mainstream dating services fraught with barriers.

One member says: “I love coming to Mates n Dates events because I enjoy meeting the girls, having talks with people and particularly enjoy speed dating it helps me meet new people; it stops me getting bored and lonely.” The ‘Save Mates n Dates’ gig is being held on Saturday, October 1, from 6.30pm until 10pm at the O2 Academy Oxford and will feature three live bands including The Black Tears, and This Elegant Chaos.

Hannah Wolstenholme, from Mates n Dates, said: “The gig promises to be a great evening — a chance for all to enjoy good music and good company, all whilst helping a great cause carry on.”

Tickets cost £10 and are available at www.o2academyoxford.co.uk (with free entry to Propaganda nightclub afterwards). Visit www.matesndates.org.uk for more information on the project.