Autonomie which supports local children and young adults living with a physical disability, has opened a new centre in Belfast.
LILAC House (Linked Independent Living and Advice Centre), opened in South Belfast with a ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by Belfast born author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, a patron of the charity.
The centre will deliver a range of programmes for local families in Belfast and surrounding areas.
Trevor Boyle, Project Coordinator of Autonomie said: “The opening of LILAC House has enabled us to expand our services and increase the amount of children and young people with a physical disability we can support.
“Autonomie, its staff and volunteers are committed to ensuring children and young people with a physical disability reach their potential.
“Young people can access more practical support to help them overcome the challenges they often face moving into adult life.
“Families of children and young people with a physical disability need to access family support services and we are launching a programme of support which includes a free confidential counselling service, training and advice.
“We would encourage young people and families to come along to LILAC House Drop-In Day on 18 April and find out more about support programmes available to them.”
Support from birth upwards
Autonomie will provide support programmes to help parents from birth of their child and upwards providing group support programmes, access to a toy and resource library, and training to help their child’s development.
The charity’s new three-year pilot project aimed at disabled young people aged between 14 and 25 is called What Next? and is due to start in May.
The scheme will offer young people practical support including life skills, networking to build friendships and even a chance to try independent living at purpose-designed units on the premises.
Mr Boyle added: “Allowing young people to access a range of activities which go towards developing skills to live independently and helps young people to move onto the next stage in their lives is paramount to our work.
"Our research shows that when these young people leave Children's services it can take up to five years for them to show up on the social services radar. Instead they're confined to their rooms, living life through social media. They rarely leave the house.
"Through supported learning and recreational opportunities ‘What Next?’ will help young people strengthen their support networks and help them lead a fuller, more independent life.
“Around 20 young people per year with the help of trained facilitators will even have the chance to experience independent living in purpose-designed modern and accessible facilities at LILAC House – helping young people transition more successfully into adult life and their own housing.”
Open 7 days a week – on a part-time basis, including some evenings LILAC House will deliver a wide range of community-based activities for local families.
The new modern and accessible facility has a bright and spacious lounge where the local community are welcome to use facilities, a recreation room where young people can enjoy activities, a toy and resource library, a fully equipped kitchen where young people can learn cookery skills, a training room, and a wellbeing room for one-to-one support.
The charity’s What Next? Project is funded by Big Lottery Fund.
A chance to visit LILAC House with Drop-In Day
Autonomie is hosting a LILAC House Drop-In Day, 4 Sandhurst Road, Belfast, BT7 1PW on Wednesday 18 April, 10 am to 3 pm. A chance for young people and local families to visit the new centre and find out more about the support programmes on offer.
Find out more about LILAC House by contacting Lynne Morrison on 02895918051 or emailing email@example.com
For media enquiries please contact Kirsty McQuoid on 02844842984 / 07713956128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org