£200,000 cash boost for Something Special

Pictured at the evening held in Connolly's Restaurant, Eglinton, by Something Special to celebrate their funding from the European Social Fund and Arts Council are, from left, David Lyons, Chairperson, Denise White, Mark Durkan MP, Brenda Stevenson and Alderman Maurice Devenney. DER2015-113KM
Pictured at the evening held in Connolly's Restaurant, Eglinton, by Something Special to celebrate their funding from the European Social Fund and Arts Council are, from left, David Lyons, Chairperson, Denise White, Mark Durkan MP, Brenda Stevenson and Alderman Maurice Devenney. DER2015-113KM

A Derry charity is celebrating receiving a huge cash boost from the European Social Fund.

Staff and volunteers at Something Special were told at a celebration event on Friday night they had been awarded approximately £200,000 securing their future for the next three years.

Volunteer Mary Lynch revealed how the charity had initially been turned down for European Social Funding.

“We started a campaign, we went to Stormont and had all our politicians lobbying for us. The upshot was that we got our funding.”

She said the money will also be used to launch a new programme of employment and support to allow people with learning disabilities to get work placements that could lead on to jobs.

“Something Special is just such a brilliant place,” said Mary.

“As well as a creative learning environment we also offer parents respite five days a week.”

Denise White said: “I am over the moon with the announcement. It’s taken the pressure off. We were so please so many cross party politicians backed us.”

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey congratulated the group. He said: “I am delighted with this announcement.

“The European Social Fund was established to finance employment projects and few would be more worthy that the ‘Something Special’ organisation who help and support those young people with complex needs and learning difficulties into employment.

“This award will go a long way to helping many young people lead a healthy, productive and fulfilling life.”