A young man affected by homelessness is gaining confidence and hope for the future, thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
Apex Housing Association Limited has received a £9,070 grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme. It is part of a Big Lottery Fund grants roll out today of £65,039 to eight groups in the Derry/Londonderry area. Download full list of Awards
Apex Housing Association provides social housing, support and care services. They are using the money for a healthy living project for 18-25 year old homeless people in the Derry/Londonderry area. It includes healthy eating and cooking skills, and physical training sessions.
Jason Burke (25) went into foster care as a child following a family breakup. He was eight years old.
“Although my foster family were very good to me, it meant I had to move away from everyone I knew and to a new town. It had a big effect on my confidence. At the new school I found it very difficult to make new friends. I didn’t want to join in with any school activities or lessons. I became very unsettled and began to disrupt lessons. I also became very angry and this made school very difficult. In some lessons I had to be sent to a classroom on my own with another teacher so that I couldn’t disrupt other students. I left school with no qualifications.”
When he was 20, Jason moved into supported accommodation, most recently at the Apex Strand Foyer, where he still lives today.
Although Jason still finds it difficult to trust people because of the issues he’s faced, that’s improved since he moved to Apex Strand Foyer, and his confidence is much better.
His skills too are growing – he has taken part in cooking and healthy living programmes as part of the project funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme.
“The programmes have been brilliant,” said Jason. “I have learned so much about my body and how nutrition is important to keeping healthy but apart from the physical benefit I have learned that anything is possible. I have started to believe in myself and have more confidence to try new things and form new relationships. I even enrolled on a Personal Training course, which I hope to return to complete in September.
“Without the help of my support officer, Julie McClelland, cooking tutor Stephen Kerr, and the personal trainer Caroline Greene I wouldn’t have had these opportunities. They motivated me and helped me reach my goals. All of this has helped to improve my confidence. I now believe I can achieve anything if I work hard enough for it.”
Other Derry/Londonderry projects
AMH works to enhance the quality of life and employability of those with mental health issues across Northern Ireland. They are using the £8,692 grant to provide 10 high quality bicycles for a series of four 10-week cycling programmes for people in the Derry/Londonderry area.
Citizens of Senior Years (Cosy Club) provides a range of outings, activities, advice and information services to older people in Derry/Londonderry. They are using the £9,273 grant to provide a range of healthy eating initiatives through the luncheon club and health checks, activities and outings including laughter yoga, arts and crafts, walking club, gardening and bingo and intergenerational activities.
Irish Street Youth and Community Association runs a selection of programmes for the whole community. They are using the £10,000 grant to provide a range of trips, activities and events for the local community including arts and crafts, men’s and women’s groups, a weekly youth programme, a luncheon club for older people and seasonal events.
4 Rs Recycling C.I.C., a recycling centre in Derry/Londonderry, works with the community through various programmes to develop skills and learning using the idea of recycling. They are using the £5,955 grant for an eight week summer programme for young people ages 16 to 19 with a learning disability.
Ardstraw Area Women’s Group established in 2003, is for women of all ages living in the rural area of Ardstraw. They provide activities to bring people together and reduce isolation. They are using the £2,647 grant to fund workshops, activities and educational classes.
Something Special promotes arts and educational activities to promote the independence, talents and abilities of people with a learning disability in the Derry/Londonderry area. They are using the £10,000 grant to help produce and deliver a musical play focused on a young woman’s life after being diagnosed with Autism.
Hope of Eglinton LOL 764 promotes the heritage and culture of the Eglinton area of Derry/Londonderry and provides community facilities. They are using the £9,402 grant to improve their facilities so they can provide more community activities.