£480,000 for Something Special

Denise White, chairperson of Something Special
Denise White, chairperson of Something Special

A Derry charity that works to empower young people with a learning disability has been awarded almost £0.5million from the National Lottery.

Denise White of Something Special says the Lottery funding will allow the group to showcase the artistic and musical talents of a group of 14-20 year olds.

The £480,290 grant from the from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Empowering Young People programme, will allow Something Special to develop a training and employment programme for young people with a disability aged between 14 and 20, using music and the arts to help them gain qualifications.

The Eglinton based group will further set up a social economy company, and the young people will organise performance events ranging from DJ/Club nights to concerts and arts festivals.

“Music can have a great impact on a young person with a learning disability,” Denise says.

“They often lack self confidence, they feel excluded from the achievements of their peers in school and community, and have little social life. “When they are involved in DJ-ing or any other innovative music courses they are filled with determination and self confidence.

“They have a chance to interact with other students who may not have a learning disability, their social skills improve and they gain self belief that they do have an integral role in society.”

Denise says the performance and event management aspect of the project would help change public perception of learning disability.

“This will give the young people the opportunity to prove that they have talent and can have a positive role in society,” she says.