Support for disabled young people in city

A local charity has launched a new pilot project offering disabled youngsters self-confidence and life skills classes through a pilot project.

SAIL project participants, Autonomie volunteers and staff
SAIL project participants, Autonomie volunteers and staff

Disability charity Autonomie has been awarded over £400,000 through National Lottery funding to launch the SAIL (Social and Independent Living) Project.

The three year project will directly benefit disabled school leavers in 8 local council areas across Northern Ireland, with young people in the Lisburn and Castlereagh council area the first to access the programme.

The project helps isolated disabled youngsters, aged between 16 and 30, who often face difficulties moving into adult life and delivers programmes on building self-confidence, life skills and networking to build friendships.

As well as helping young people to achieve greater independence and improved quality of life, the project funded by Community Fund’s Empowering Young People programme, will actively empower them to live more confident lives in their own communities.

Unlike Autonomie’s current project Family Voice Hub, which works exclusively with Northern Ireland families raising a child or young person with disabilities, this pilot scheme will directly support young people with disabilities.

Autonomie Chief Officer, Lynne Morrison, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. SAIL Project will help to make a difference to so many young people with additional needs and we would be unable to reach these vulnerable young people without support from the National Lottery Community Fund.


“Throughout the pandemic, feelings of loneliness in disabled young people have sky-rocketed, and demand for our services is at an all-time high.

“This funding will help us tackle these issues and help these vulnerable young people with complex additional needs access vital programmes to boost their confidence, support their develop and enrich their lives at a time when they need support most.

“Our vital work continued throughout the pandemic and we are delighted to be able to help even more young people with additional needs with this pilot project.

Places are available for young people in Lisburn and Castlereagh council area with the SAIL project running Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am to 2pm.

For further information, please visit

For more information about Autonomie you can visit


For further information about SAIL project please email Nicole Hammond, SAIL Youth Development Officer at [email protected]