Speed dating with an inclusive twist

December 9, 2023 BY

Getting to know: An event aimed at helping create friendships among neurodiverse people is set for Oscar's next week. Photo: FILE

NEURODIVERSE people seeking new connections are invited to take part in an inclusive friend-dating event in the garden room of Oscar’s Hotel next week.

Set for the evening of Wednesday 13 December, the initiative is being led by Melba Support Services, and inclusion consultant Kate Taylor said it’s about supporting people to foster new friendships.

“This is really exciting because we believe it’s the first neurodiversity speed dating event to be held in Ballarat,” she said.

“It’s definitely got a twist on the conventional format. Firstly, it’s not just for romantic dating, it’s for people to find friends and social connections too, in an environment that is tailored to be neurodiversity friendly.

“We have lived experience organising this event, two of the team are neurodiverse, and the night will kick off with an education session on communications, hosted by another of our team, Melissa Webster, who is the CEO of ADHD Australia.

“The venue is also inclusive. It’s wheelchair accessible, and it will be a low-sensory experience with dimmed lights and minimised background noise.”

Unlike the traditional speed dating model, people will have more than five minutes to meet, interact, and learn about one another.

“We will have conversation prompt questions on the tables, and also fidget toys,” Ms Taylor said.

“This event is a great way for everyone to enjoy a night out and make new social connections without having to worry about whether it’s going to be an inclusive environment or not.”

Neurodiverse friend-dating will run from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, with a target audience of 18 to 40 year olds.

“Everybody is welcome,” Ms Taylor said. “You don’t have to be neurodivergent either, but if you are, then this is the event for you.”

Visit bit.ly/47Eu0s1 to register or contact [email protected] with any questions.