21/01/2005

More support needed for disabled young people

The Government must do more to support young disabled people in Northern Ireland, a University of Ulster report has said.

Commissioned by Disability Action and carried out by the School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies at UU, ‘The Importance of Being Inclusive’ takes a close look at youth-work practice involving young disabled people.

The report found that although there are some excellent activities, programmes and events that include disabled young people taking place in Northern Ireland, this inclusive practice is not widespread.

Report author Hazel Gordon, a researcher from the University of Ulster, said: “There is a clear need for strategic planning to address the needs of young people with disabilities across Northern Ireland. While this is being tackled within the Youth Service review, there remains an over reliance on the interest and commitment of individual workers.

“Youth work in Northern Ireland is not well funded and additional resources will be necessary to ensure that all young people can be included”.

Laura McCartney from Disability Action, added: “High quality youth work can make a huge difference to lives of young people with disabilities as this research demonstrates.

“Disability Action recognise that the Department of Education, and the Youth Service specifically, has increased it focus on issues of inclusion. We would like to see all young people with disabilities get the same opportunities as their non disabled peers and look forward to working with the Youth Service to address the recommendations of the report.”

(MB)

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