Nicola Sturgeon launches project to reduce social isolation among young disabled people

A project to reduce social isolation and increase independence among young wheelchair users has been launched by the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon met youngsters at an event run by charity Whizz-Kidz, which aims to use youth clubs, residential camps, wheelchair skills training and work placements to build the aspirations of wheelchair users as part of a £300,000 project.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, Whizz-Kidz also plan to expand its leadership programme for young disabled people.

The First Minister said: “Our goal is for disabled people to have choice and control, dignity and freedom to live the life they choose. The Scottish Government is determined to remove any barriers impeding young disabled people from doing so. We need to tackle inequality head-on, and ensure everyone has the chance to realise their full potential.

“The Wheeling for Change project is an excellent example of the work that can be done in this area, and I was especially pleased to be able to launch it in Scotland’s Year of Young People.”

Rian Hiney, vice chair of the Whizz-Kidz Kidz board and Scotland representative, said: “Telling the First Minister what it’s like being a young wheelchair user in Scotland and how Whizz-Kidz has improved my confidence and self-esteem was fantastic.

“I told her I’ve been attending the Whizz-Kidz club in Glasgow since 2013 so I know the positive impact services like these have on young disabled people.”

Malcolm Tyndall, director of fundraising and strategic innovation at Whizz-Kidz, said: “We’re absolutely delighted the First Minister kindly launched Wheeling for Change.

“There is often a lack of activities tailored for young wheelchair users to enable a positive transition from adolescence to adulthood. Thanks to the players of the National Lottery, Whizz-Kidz will be able to provide a broader range of services in Scotland and help more young wheelchair users lead fun and active lives.”

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