Ahead of the big vote in the National Lottery’s Good Causes Awards, Journal reporter Michael McMonagle looks at some of the projects involved in both the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum and Achieving Something Special and the services they provide to local communities in the north west.
My name is John Fox. I am 45 years old and have been a member at Something Special since it opened in 2007.
I’d like to explain how that came about. In 1996 I lost both my parents only a month apart. I lost my Mother in July and my Father in August. This loss had a massive impact on my mental health as I fell into a deep depression.
I managed to stay in the family home for only a couple of weeks before I ended up so unwell I was hospitalised. When I came out of the hospital I gave up the family home and moved into supported living accommodation.
After a while I decided to attend Strand Road Technical College where I met Denise White. Denise introduced me to a whole new world through music and provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to move forward with my life in a positive manner.
It was around this time that Denise decided that there was not enough support on offer for adults with disabilities and she was going to do something about it by setting up an education unit.
She worked tirelessly to achieve this and Something Special went from dream to reality. She told me all about the Something Special and I decided to join.
I believed that this was just what I was looking for and that it would provide me with direction in my life alongside a support mechanism through social engagement.
Since the very offset I have enjoyed what Something Special has to offer. I love music, art and drama and Something Special offers accredited learning in all these areas. We are always out and about performing for the general public. These performances take confidence, self-esteem and courage; all assets I have developed through Something Special and the work they do.
I believe wholeheartedly that I owe my health, happiness and perhaps my life to this organisation as it gave me hope when there was none and my world was falling apart. I would like to think in the future I will be able to give something back by becoming a volunteer, I already help the staff and volunteers with some of the students a little less fortunate than me and have been an ambassador for Something Special on many occasions.
So please, they are a really important organisation that need all the support they can get so pick up your phone and vote for Something Special or vote online.
To vote for Achieving Something Special call 08448369670 or vote online at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards