Lottery boost for Destined Youth

A Derry support group for young people with learning difficulties has been awarded a Big Lottery Fund windfall.

Destined Youth has received 2,480 from the Big Deal Small Grants Programme towards a residential weekend trip for some of its members later this year.

The support group was set up in 2002 when a group of parents decided to help develop a meaningful future for their young people.

Dermot O’Hara, a founder member of Destined Youth said: “I had worked in the field of autism but my own daughter also has a learning disability and as a result was quite isolated from other young people her age in her own community.”

He added: “There were just too many young people like her sitting in their bedrooms with no friends and few interests and we wanted to help change that.”

“However, we decided that we’d need to do something more than just provide a service for these families.”

The group now operates a drop-in facility in the city which is open seven days a week running a range of courses from literacy and IT to drama and sport.

“On a Saturday morning, for instance, we have dance classes followed by karaoke while on a Friday night we’ll maybe get out to see Derry City play at the Brandywell or go to the cinema,” said Dermot.

The Big Deal funding will be used towards a residential which will allow the members to focus on what they want for the future of their group.