RNID backs speed-dating event

The RNID is supporting the UK's first speed-dating event for British Sign Language users, which aims to raise money for the charity and bring together singles in the deaf community.

PassionFlirt Deaf Dating is open to anyone who can use BSL, and is being promoted through the RNID, the British Deaf Association, online chatrooms and local press.

However, organiser Alan Llorente, a speed dating entrepreneur and RNID community fundraiser, admitted that plans for an inaugural event in London's Shoreditch this week had to be postponed until late July because of lack of participants.

"We don't have anyone signed up," he said. "I've organised speed-dating events before, but I didn't anticipate the amount of promotion and marketing that it would take to reach the deaf community."

The RNID is now working with Llorente to produce posters and flyers that will be distributed through the RNID to its membership.

The evening will follow the normal speed-dating format, with participants meeting a series of people over the night for a few minutes each.

At the end of the night, the speed-daters hand in a score card rating their potential dates. Where high-scoring matches are found, the organisers put them in touch with each other.

Llorente said: "There are 112,000 profoundly or severely deaf people in Greater London, many of whom use British Sign Language as their first language, but to my knowledge there aren't any dating events designed for them."

Nicky Wilson, events manager at the RNID said: "For many deaf people, speed dating is a new phenomenon, but if it provides an opportunity for BSL users to meet new people then that has to be a good thing."

Llorente added: "Obviously, there is nothing to stop a deaf BSL user from attending a traditional speed-dating event if they wanted to, but the communication problems they might face may prove to be something of a barrier in that situation."

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