Destined ‘has changed my life’

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A Derry charity that has acted as the voice for adults with learning disabilities for years in the city is opening an office in Feeny.

Established in 2002, Destined is an advocacy and user led organisation which provides personal and social skills training and social activities for people with a learning disability to enable them to participate more fully in their community.

Centre Manager for Feeny, Charlene Keenan said the new service in Feeny will cater for the whole of the North County Derry with a catchment area stretching from Claudy to Dungiven to Limavady to Eglinton, and all of the smaller rural areas in between.

“The Destined Rural Development Project is an innovative two-year project funded by the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and managed by Destined. The project aims to reduce the levels of isolation and exclusion experienced by people with learning disabilities living in rural areas,” she said.

Derry man, Declan O’Kane joined Destined two years ago.

Prior to that Declan said he was walking the streets and had been subjected to bullying and name calling.

But, thanks to Destined, he says his life has changed for the better.

“I haven’t looked back,” he said. It’s been fantastic.”

Declan is now immersed in a number of activities throughout the week, including a web design course, which he is almost finished.

“It’s very interesting,” he says of his time at Destined.

“It has changed my life. It really brought me out of my shell and I’m really grateful what it has done.”

Declan encouraged anyone with learning difficulties to seek help at Destined.

“Go and see the staff and have a chat. It really changed my life and I’m really happy.”

Services provided by the new centre in Feeny will include:

· Personal & Social Development Programmes

· Support through Person Centred Planning

· Careers & Employment Information & Advice

· Educational & Vocational Training

· Drop-In Centre Facilities

Ms Keenan says people can get in touch by contacting her on 02877781141 or via e-mail at charlene@destined.ie

The new Feeny centre will have a launch on Friday, March 30 at 11am at Unit 5, Feeny Village Centre.