Youth charity Autonomie held a special event at La Mon Hotel and Country Club to celebrate the success and achievements of the young people they support through their services in Belfast.
Held at La Mon Hotel and Country Club (5 April), the event organised by Autonomie celebrated the achievements of young people it supports and showcased its services including What Next? project which is supported by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Special guests included Friend of Autonomie Lady Bloomfield MBE and Mr Jerome Grace of The National Lottery Community Fund as well as over 80 invited guests including family members.
Following dinner and addresses, the ceremony began, with each young person receiving a certificate to mark their personal achievements.
Speaking at the celebration event Mr Jerome Grace, Funding Officer of The National Lottery Community Fund, commended the young people on their achievements.
He said: “The What Next? project is first and foremost a project by young people, for young people, with a youth committee that ensures that the voice of young people is loud and clear.
“We wanted a project that reflected what young people wanted and a project that would allow young people to take control and be at the heart of the project.
“The What Next? Project did all that and more.”
Mr Trevor Boyle, Project Coordinator of Autonomie, also highlighted the achievements of all the young people attending the event and offered his thanks to the charity’s partner The National Lottery Community Fund.
He said: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate the achievements of young people in Autonomie and this has truly been a wonderful evening of celebration.
“Our mission is to empower young people living with disabilities who face challenges and barriers in making their transition into adult life.
“We provide practical learning that’s fun to help these young people develop the skills to live independently and achieve their potential.
“These young people have chosen to undertake a range of activities aimed at developing social and communication skills, self-esteem and prevent poor mental health. Each young person has made great strides in their learning and personal development learning vital skills and gaining confidence and independence along the way.
“They should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Through Autonomie’s What Next?, Freedom2Choose and Be A Champion programmes, young people have undertaken a range of activities with themes including convenient cookery, money management, online safety and transport. Those that can take part in the youth forum, volunteer and can even experience short-term stays at Lilac House (Linked Independent Living and Advice Centre) with the support of trained facilitators.
Mr Boyle continued: “Our work is only possible thanks to our dedicated team of staff and volunteers and partners such as The National Lottery Community Fund.
“I would encourage more young people with disabilities in Belfast and surrounding areas to get involved in our programmes.”
Free to attend, Autonomie’s activity programmes take place weekdays and weekends and are suitable for young people with disabilities aged between 16 and 25.