Heart Searching: Win a starring role: Six valuable prizes of a year's membership of 'the intelligent person's introduction agency' are on offer in this easy-to-enter competition

Sirius has become the first introduction agency to achieve the BS 5750 British Standard assurance of quality, an attainment that adds credibility to its description of itself as 'the intelligent person's introduction agency', writes Rachel Lipman.

Kate Corbett, managing director, says: 'Our members are professional and business persons, graduates and other intelligent people. They expect, and receive, a high standard of professionalism from us and BS 5750 underscores our commitment to providing a quality service.'

Heart Searching readers can test that claim for themselves if they are successful in our latest competition, which offers six people - three men and three women - a year's free membership. Total value of the prizes is some pounds 3,500.

That 'intelligent person's agency' tag has echoes of the 'thinking person's introduction agency' slogan which Drawing Down The Moon uses in its publicity, and like DDTM and other upmarket agencies such as Sara Eden and Virginia Charles, Sirius seems to be targeted at the 'successful professionals' market - the type of person who reads a quality newspaper, has a good career, and is willing (and able) to pay more than pounds 500 for the opportunity to meet similar people of the opposite sex.

Ms Corbett, like her counterparts at other agencies, is keen to emphasise that, these days, introduction agencies are certainly not for life's inadequates or failures. She says: 'Our members make important decisions every day in their professional lives - why shouldn't they take control of their emotional lives?' She points out that successful men and women can find themselves alone through the break-up of a relationship, bereavement, or because they have spent all their time and energy pursuing their careers.

She adds that a surprising number of women nowadays are perceived by men as being 'too successful' and therefore unapproachable (I take her point, though I'm not sure that I would want to meet a man who takes that view, through an agency or not).

'It's a sad fact that in the high- pressure world we live in meeting people and making new friends is not always easy. What the agency offers is a 'safer' way of meeting other people in similar circumstances,' she says.

Sirius, launched in 1992, has its head office in Cheshire but covers the whole country, employing a team of interviewers who meet all new members in their own homes. The agency then compiles a personal profile, which members approve before it is sent out to prospective partners (with confidential information such as name, address and telephone number left out).

Your profile is sent to an appropriate person and you receive his or hers at the same time; if both parties agree to take things further, Sirius supplies first names and telephone numbers.

There is no limit to the number of profiles members may request, but they are promised at least six within a year. Sirius has members across the age range, though like most agencies it warns tactfully that 'above the age of 40 or so, the numbers of men tend to dwindle as age increases, making it a little less easy for our lady members'.

Members have their own voice mail box on the agency's computer, where they can leave or collect messages. A feature that marks Sirius out as different to many of its competitors is that it runs a programme of short breaks and holidays for members, ranging from sailing in Greece and skiing in the Alps to walking in the Lake District. Other trips include long weekends in Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, New York or Milan (the last including a night out at La Scala).

To win a year's membership of Sirius, all you have to do is complete this sentence in no more than 20 words: 'I would love to join Sirius because . . .' The three men and three women who submit the most witty and apposite entries will each win a prize. Everyone who enters will receive a Sirius information pack.

Send your entry to: Sirius Competition, Heart Searching, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Please include your name and address, and if possible a daytime telephone number. Closing date: Monday 18 April.

Sirius, by the way, situated in the Canis Maoris constellation, is the brightest star in the night sky - 'a shining symbol of the change we hope to bring to your life'.

Sirius Introductions: 0625 860924 (Chelford, Cheshire); 071-256 6123 (London); 031-225 3606 (Edinburgh).

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital