Foyle Down Syndrome Trust – what they did with the Big Lottery Fund 10th Birthday grant

Foyle Down Syndrome Trust supports children and young people with Down Syndrome in Derry/Londonderry. They are using the £10,000 grant for their Life Skills project

The project supports 20 young adults aged 16 to 30 to learn essential life skills including travelling, money management and health and fitness. The project is ongoing until December 2015.

Some feedback from people who have taken part in the programme:

“I love coming to the Trust to meet up with my friends and dance on a Wednesday. It is great fun.” Laura Duddy 
“I enjoyed learning how to keep safe and get about myself.” Jill McCallion 
“The best bit is eating what we cook, mmmm!” Breandan Lavery
“I make sure I don’t miss coming to the Trust to enjoy the craic.” Kathy Coyle

Lorraine Gallen, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust Manager said they had wanted to get the young people involved in a physical activity that they would enjoy and that they could continue in a local mainstream club after the programme is over.

“Dance proved to be a big hit with our young people,” she said. “As part of the project we have been able to equip them with the skills to travel independently to these clubs or other events in their lives. This improved their mobility and the visibility of our young people in the local community, helping to change perceptions.

“Foyle Down Syndrome Trust would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for its practical support for this project. Our Young People with Down Syndrome are developing valuable skills to help them live an independent life, they are building up their confidence and self esteem whilst at the same time forging close friendships with their peers through the shared learning experience.”

The parents have been very supportive of the project. Conal Diver, Emma’s dad, said: “The life skills that Emma is learning through this project are becoming more and more evident in her day to day life at home. Emma is becoming more adventurous with the foods that she will try and she is developing an interest in both cooking and in learning about what is in the food that she eats. The physical activity through the dance element has given Emma more energy. We are looking forward to Emma learning more about how to manage money on this project as this isn’t something that she can cope with herself at the moment.”

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