Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland, the public body providing financial awards to disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland to support their independence, has this December launched a new campaign to encourage young people living with a physical or mental impairment to apply for funding and #TrySomethingNew.
The Transition Fund aims to encourage young people who need support to try new activities and experiences that will enhance their participation and social interaction with their communities, their independence and confidence.
Since launching the fund 12 months ago, nearly 700 young people have applied, with £5 million of funding available per year.
The #TrySomethingNew campaign hopes to inspire and encourage more young people across Scotland to apply by showcasing the breadth of activities the fund can support.
Applicants can apply for grants of up to £7,500 each, which can be used to fund activities and experiences that will improve their transition into young adulthood, such as driving lessons, sporting equipment and joining a class or club.
16-year-old high school student Dylan McCreath from East Renfrewshire received funding to attend a mainstream community college music studio for regular guitar, voice and piano lessons.
Speaking of the fund, Dylan said: “Learning music in a busy college environment has improved my links to the community and broadened my horizons. Thanks to the ILF Transition Fund, I now have one to one support in learning music, and it’s helping me to improve my confidence and skills.”
Gemma Lumsdaine, a 21-year-old GB Wheelchair Rugby squad member from Dunblane secured funding for a new lightweight wheelchair to improve her mobility whilst playing sports as she sets her sights on the 2020 Paralympic Games. In addition, part of her grant will pay for travel and accommodation during away tournaments.
Speaking of the Transition Fund, Gemma said: “Playing sports gives me the confidence I need to feel empowered and independent. Receiving a brand-new wheelchair from ILF Scotland has made all the difference to me. It will definitely help me improve my sports performance and hopefully realise my ambition to play wheelchair rugby for the GB Paralympic team in Toyko in 2020.
“I would really encourage everyone who is eligible to apply and try something new – who knows what might happen!”
ILF Scotland CEO, Peter Scott, added: “It’s been wonderful to watch the fund positively impact so many young people. We want to reach more young people from across Scotland as they transition into adulthood.
“This period in a young person’s life can be challenging, especially for those living with a physical or mental impairment. As support from schools and children’s services comes to an end, many young people can become isolated, vulnerable and anxious.”
All young people aged between 16 and 21, living with a physical or mental impairment in Scotland, are encouraged to apply. This includes people with autism, learning difficulties, physical disabilities and mental health, hearing or visual impairments. Those aged 15 are also eligible to apply, with successful applicants receiving their funds when they turn 16.
Peter continued: “By receiving the funding and support to try something new, young people can gain the confidence they need to participate and interact with their communities. We encourage young people to think about new activities or life experiences that they feel would enhance their independence and involvement in their communities, and to apply for funding.”
Applications for funding are still open and can be made directly to ILF Scotland via their website at www.ilf.scot/transition-fund
Following the closure of the UK Independent Living Fund (ILF) on 30th June 2015, the Scottish Government established a new organisation, Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland, to administer ILF for existing recipients of the fund in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
ILF Scotland is a public body, governed by a Board of Directors, appointed by and accountable to Scottish Ministers.
ILF Scotland provides financial awards and grants to over 3,000 disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland to help them live independently and to participate in their communities.
The new ILF Scotland Transition Fund provides money, for up to one year, to support young people living with disabilities (as defined in the Equality Act 2010) to improve their lives. This includes autism, learning difficulty, physical disability, mental health (e.g. anxiety or depression) or hearing or visual impairments.
The purpose of the Fund is to help young people, between the ages of 16 and 21 living with disabilities, who are at an important transitional stage in their lives, to participate in their communities.
Money from the ILF Scotland Transition Fund can be used to help young people participate in activities, in their communities, that they may not have been able to take part in previously that will also help them to become independent and continue to spend time with other people.
ILF Scotland funding can be used for things like:
- Art or music lessons
- A device or piece of technology to help young people with their impairment joining a class and/or club
- Travel training
- Driving lessons, and training courses.
To be eligible for the ILF Scotland Transition applicants must:
- Be between the age of 15 and 21 years old (if they apply at 15 they won’t receive the money until they turn 16 and if they are 21 applications must be made before their 22nd birthday).
- Have lived in Scotland for the last 6 months.
- Have an impairment or disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010).
- Have less than £26,250 of personal savings.