Otago Polytechnic graduate and former Dunedin mayoral candidate Joshua Perry plans to set up a dating internet site, called Enabling Love.
Mr Perry (26) promoted his planned initiative at a stand at a national Disability Matters conference, which ended in Dunedin yesterday.
Mr Perry, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was “really excited” that his venture was “finally coming together” after two years of planning and preparations.
“We understand the challenges of meeting others through dating sites and have decided to set up our own inclusive service.”
He says his site, which he plans to launch on January 25, will not simply offer a remote, electronic service, but will help bring people with disabilities together, and offer a strong human focus.
“They’ve got a huge amount to offer,” he added.
He knew that people could become isolated and were sometimes unsure how to meet others.
He was an “outgoing” Kiwi male, and realised how difficult it could be to connect with other people.
“I see this as a major step forward for the disability community,” he said.
Everyone between the ages of 18 and 45 was welcome, and the initiative was also open to people without disabilities, but “you have to be open to dating someone with a disability in order to join us”.
Mr Perry has been used to receiving a certain amount of public attention over the years, including in his work as marketing co-ordinator of Stopping Violence Dunedin, in 2015, and expressions of support he received after his North Dunedin flat was burgled last year.
He hopes his new dating venture will prompt even more calls.
“We aim to provide a safe environment for individuals to meet new friends and form new connections and relationships”.