Sister and charity worker, Helena Reed has launched happily Community Interest Company (CIC), a not-for-profit friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and autism in London.
The idea of happily was born from Helena’s first-hand experience of helping her younger sister who has learning disabilities to find love and friendship. Having exhausted their efforts on numerous online dating websites, apps and introduction agencies, Helena realised that more needed to be done to connect people and to support them to build meaningful relationships:
“There wasn’t a service dedicated specifically for adults with learning disabilities in London, which had appropriate safeguarding measures in place and was also accessible to members.
We spoke to families, charities as well as other dating agencies based outside of London who all agreed there was a need for something like happily,”
happily aims to provide a safe environment for members to make new friends and go on dates with appropriate support. As a way of giving back to the community, happily will also host free workshops about relationships for its members and partner charities.
It is the close connection with charities that Helena believes makes happily so special:
“We pride ourselves on our partnerships with charities across London, helping provide the best service to our members”
The social enterprise will be led by Helena and supported by her mother Dr Corriene Reed as well as a team of dedicated volunteers. Helena has previously worked with adults with learning disabilities and autism, while her mother Corriene is a developmental psychologist with a doctorate in psychology. Both are passionate about supporting individuals both personally and professionally.
To celebrate the launch of the new dating agency, happily hosted a garden tea party in West London, where the company’s headquarters are based. Guests enjoyed homemade cakes and drinks on a sunny afternoon.
Following the launch, happily hopes to achieve great things over the next twelve months, including bringing people together, hosting social events as well as relationship workshops for members and partner charities.