Mayor Brenda Stevenson with Graham Whitehead, Orpheus Centre, and Denise White, Something Special, on right.
Mayor Stevenson travelled with members of local group Something Special as they visited two organisations known for best practice in the UK - KASBAH and the Orpheus Centre, a special centre which promotes learning and development through the arts, founded by Sir Richard Stilgoe.
Sir Richard also visited the city last year to take part in a number of musical workshops with local children as part of the City of Culture’s SEND programme.
Something Special is one of two charities being supported by the Mayor throughout the year and the group provides creative learning opportunities for people living with the everyday challenges of a learning disability, as well as offering a wide programme of social activities.
The second charity, Circle of Support for Autism Families, provides a vital network of support and information for families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The group will also benefit from a wide range of fundraising opportunities and profile moments until May 2015.
Speaking after the visit, Mayor Stevenson said: “This trip was a fantastic opportunity to see for myself the wonderful work that is being achieved by exemplary organisations such as the Orpheus Centre and KASBAH. It has been inspirational to see the many wonderful initiatives and programmes which can now inform and influence the fantastic work which is already being done by Something Special locally.
“This was a great opportunity to forge strong links with a network of organisations who can offer support and advice which will prove invaluable in identifying new opportunities for people with learning disabilities in Derry.”
Something Special have already established relations with the Orpheus Centre over the past few years and worked collaboratively on a number of projects.
Founder Denise White explained: “From the outset, Orpheus has been such a positive role model for Something Special, and patron of our organisation, Graham Webb MBE, put me in touch with the organisation KASBAH, which focuses on supported independent living for young adults with various types of physical and learning disabilities.
“I am delighted that the Mayor has been able to lend her support during this visit and we now look forward to developing new exciting strands within Something Special, providing innovative and exciting opportunities for our students in our city.”