A cross community group of young people living with a disability are to fly to London to compete in UK Youth’s ‘Money for Life’ Community Challenge finals.
Every one in the group is a participant on YouthAction NI’s Beacon Programme, an EU Peace IV through Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) funded cross-community programme.
The programme is aimed at young people living in the council area and the Donegal border area.
Laura Duddy, one of the participants, said the ‘Money Mentors’ programme was created to help people with a disability use money on a daily basis.
“We recognised that young people with a disability need help or some support to understand money and the value of it”.
Another participant, Jason Welsh, said that only a couple of people in the group regularly carry money.
“In our large group only three of us carry money. This is because the others have a lack of skills to understand it. We wanted to change this and help them to lead more independent lives”.
Youth worker Connor Mc Gilloway explains that the group received funding from UK Youth’s Community Challenge Fund.
“We used this money to buy a range of educational money games and cash registers”.
The group’s “Money Mentors” programme won the Northern Ireland community challenge award in November, and now they will pitch their idea later this week at The Bafta building in London.
They will compete against groups from England, Scotland and Wales in a bid to win the UK title and gain £500 to continue their project.
Fiona Lafferty Project Officer DCSDC PEACE IV Team praised the achievement of the young people.
“To be going to London to represent the Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) area is a great achievement for these young people. We wish them the best of luck and know they will do us proud. We are delighted to be supporting YouthAction’s Beacon project through PEACEIV funding managed by the SEUPB.”
Many of the group also participate with programmes run by The Foyle Down Syndrome Trust and The Playtrail, Liberty Consortium.
Christopher Cooper, manager of The Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, asked the public to back the group on March 21st, which is also World Down Syndrome Day, by wearing odd socks as part of the #lotsofsocks campaign to raise awareness of Down Syndrome.
For more information on the Beacon Programme please contact YouthAction Northern Ireland 02871318854.