Support For Blind Young People To Work Towards Jobs

Young people who are blind or partially sighted need extra help when it comes to making sure they get through education and have job opportunities.

And projects that aim to give them just that extra support have been given a major grant of nearly half a million pounds.

The Big Lottery Fund has given £493,465 to the RNIB to run support services for blind and partially sighted people aged eight to 20 to offer courses in confidence building and assertiveness, support with job searches and application forms, and training in using assistive technology such as computer software that writes what a person says.

RNIB communications officer said: "There are about 1,000 blind and partially sighted young people in Northern Ireland. The changes that all young people face - moving from primary to secondary school, choosing a career path, and moving to further/higher education and the job market - can be challenging. But for blind and partially sighted young people these changes can be bewildering, frightening, and isolating. This project will give them the skills and confidence they need to tackle their fears and achieve their goals."

21-year-old Jordan Gilmore from Dundonald, registered blind, went to the specialist school in Jordanstown, then moved to Belfast Metropolitan College and is now at the University of Derby.

He said: "Without the RNIB's support I would not have had the confidence to go to college and if I had not done that I would never have gone to university."

The Big Lottery Fund also gave money to projects for young people with acquired brain injury to get specialist psychological support and access to sports.

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: "We are already seeing the positive impact that the Empowering Young People programme is having on the lives of our most vulnerable young people during this harsh period of recession in Northern Ireland."



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