Renfrewshire charity Dates-n-Mates is the latest star in a nationwide campaign highlighting the work of Scotland's voluntary sector.

The national dating and friendship charity, run by and for adults with a learning disability, has been featured in the Essential Sector campaign.

A total of 10 organisations were given support and access to everyday equipment to make their own films, with training provided by ethical media production group media co-op.

The films were premiered at SCVO’s Gathering 2023, the largest voluntary sector event in the UK, in Edinburgh last month and are now being showcased on a weekly basis.

They feature real people, telling their stories in their own words and paint an inspiring and raw picture of the value, diversity, and impact of the voluntary sector.

Influenced by members' preferences, Dates-n-Mates organises a wide selection of social events where there are opportunities for people to make new friendships to create connections.

They support friendship matching, date chaperoning and training workshops, all of which were on show in the film they produced.

Linzi Clark, engagement and events lead for Renfrewshire Dates-n-Mates, said: "Taking part in the Essential Sector campaign was a thoroughly rewarding experience. 

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"At Dates-n-Mates, a lot of our work is focused on creating accessible and welcoming events that allow for authentic connections to be made, so it was great to have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the genuine friendships and experiences first hand from our Dates-n-Mates members.

"Like many third sector organisations, It can sometimes be difficult to highlight the importance of our work through stats and written reports when the impact is often captured in the small moments and interactions in person. 

"The mobile journalism training allowed us to focus on these moments and that was a really rewarding process to be part of. 

"I look forward to utilising the skills developed throughout the campaign in the future."

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of SCVO, said: "The Essential Sector films tell the stories of just 10 of Scotland's 46,500 voluntary organisations. 

"The films are a lovely celebration of the work they do.

"We want to highlight as many stories as we can on a national stage to bring to life the vital role of voluntary organisations in communities across Scotland."

A video featuring members of Dates-n-Mates can be viewed at