Disability charity Autonomie expands volunteer team
The outstanding success of a Northern Ireland charity to tackle lack of opportunities for disabled young people and provide support for families raising a child or young person physical disabilities and allied additional needs has prompted the charity to expand its team.
Autonomie has appointed 8 new volunteers after a surge in demand on the back of the Covid pandemic and following the launch of its SAIL and Family Voice Hub pilot projects.
The latest team members will support the SAIL (Social and Independent Living) project. This three-year pilot project offers confidence boosting activity programmes for young people aged 16-30 with complex additional needs. Launched in May 2021 with a £420,000 National Lottery Community Fund grant, young people across 8 local council areas can benefit from the programme, with young people in the Lisburn and Castlereagh council area the first to access the programme.
Sandra McDonald, one of the new volunteers said: “I couldn’t be more excited about joining a team of such enthusiastic people who clearly care about empowering young people with additional needs. It’s such a rewarding opportunity and I am delighted to help make a difference to the lives of these young people.”
Lynne Morrison, Autonomie’s Chief Officer added: “We are delighted to welcome Sandra and all our new volunteers. Like lots of other organisations the last 18 months have proved challenging but not only did we continue to support young people and families during lockdown restrictions, we successfully expanded our services and our team.
“Our volunteers do a fantastic job supporting and empowering these vulnerable young people who face a lack of opportunities after leaving school. In doing so, they gain so much themselves – new connections, new skills and satisfaction from helping vulnerable young people with complex additional needs achieve their potential and lead fuller and more independent lives.
“Although the recent volunteer campaign generated a fantastic response from the public, we’re always on the lookout for more people to support our work”.
Young people in Lisburn and Castlereagh council area can currently access the charity’s SAIL pilot project on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a small number of limited spaces are available. Young people in Belfast and surrounding areas can access the charity’s Freedom2Choose social and recreational programme on Saturdays.
Autonomie hopes that more volunteers come forward. To find out more, or to volunteer, email [email protected] or phone 02895918051