• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

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THE UK’s first hotel for people with learning difficulties and autism is turning Cupid – with a special Valentine’s Day event.

The Vault, the former River’s Edge Hotel at Gateshead, is currently being transformed to a respite care facility for people with a range of learning difficulties and at the same time is also training people facing these challenges to work in the hospitality industry.

The St Camillus Care Group which runs the facility is determined to give their trainees the same opportunities as everyone else – and that includes finding love.

And that’s the reason behind a Valentine’s Day celebration, which will include a speed dating event for anyone with autism or similar conditions.

Holly Kelleher, Centre Manager at The Vault, said the event had been organised in response to requests from trainees.

“It’s very difficult to find romance when you have a social communication disorder,” said Holly. “So we are organising a well supervised event which is open to people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.”

The event – which is for over 18s only – will start with an hour of speed dating which will also cater for different sexual preferences, followed by a disco.

A free shuttle bus service is also being offered from Gateshead Interchange. Anyone wanting to find out more or to book can call The Vault on 0191 438 2750

The Vault is a £2m project which will see the former hotel transformed into a respite centre for people with learning difficulties. It has already launched its American-style diner which is open to the public and its function room facility, which is available for private hire.

St Camillus Care Group has partnered with Gateshead College and its Project Choice scheme  – which helps young people with autism and learning difficulties find internships – to help the young people learn the skills they need for a career in hospitality.