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Celebrating five years of the Transition Fund

Post Date: 6 December 2022

The world looked very different five years ago for many people. It was 2017, Ed Sheeran was top of the UK charts with "Shape of You", "Trainspotting 2" was being premiered and Sir Andy Murray made the Queen’s new year Honours list for sporting achievements. It was also the year the Transition Fund came into being.

Transformative support for disabled people

The December 2017 launch of ILF Scotland’s Transition Fund was a significant moment for young disabled people in Scotland. Co-produced by disabled people and their representative organisations, the Transition Fund has for the past five years enabled more than 5,000 individuals aged 16-25 to increase both their confidence and independence – radically improving their way of life and allowing them to fully participate in their communities and society.

It is only fitting we mark the Transition Fund’s 5th anniversary around this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities (03 December 2022), the theme of which is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world".

Making an impact

In the five years since the Transition Fund was launched, ILF Scotland has awarded over £10 million in grants to more than 5,000 young people across all 32 local authorities in Scotland.
On 30th November, Maree Todd MSP, the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, launched the new Technology Grant – a fund that will help successful applicants access tools and technology to help them stay digitally connected, increase independence and pursue passions.

How the Transition Fund has taken Eireann to new heights

To coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Transition Fund and International Day of People with Disabilities, we want to share an incredible story from one of the recipients to show just how life-changing funding support can be.

Blonde young woman wearing a tartan jacket and green scarf in front of a green backdrop with the logo for ILF Independent Living Fund Scotland and the words "Transition Fund is ... "
Eireann speaking at the Transition Fund Celebration in Glasgow in November 2022. More coverage here.

Eireann is 25 years old, lives in Glasgow and works as an Equality and Policy Officer at the Scottish Trade Union Congress. Eireann is a care experienced young person and has lived with anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These conditions had such an impact on Eireann’s daily life that at the time of applying to the Fund, Eireann was signed off work, felt socially isolated and overwhelmed, her physical health and mental health deteriorated, and she was experiencing a range of transitions in her day-to-day life.

Though Eireann has lived by herself since the age of sixteen, she has been able to overcome a range of obstacles and adversities in her young life so far. She applied to the Transition Fund to support her transition, and access financial support to help develop and enhance her passion for hillwalking and rock climbing, get more involved with her local climbing group, and support her on a wider healing, wellbeing and recovery journey.

Having overcome so many obstacles in her life, Eireann is now a passionate advocate for care experienced, disabled people and young people's rights. She is Who Cares? Scotland’s youngest trustee and a seasoned campaigner for issues relating to justice and equality issues.

Eireann commented on the impact the Transition Fund has had on her life:

“The Transition Fund not only helped me to start my climbing journey, but helped to rebuild my confidence, aid my healing process and be more comfortable in my identity.

“Care experienced and disabled people face so many barriers in their daily lives, but the Fund helped me to try something new, buy equipment that made me feel more confident, and access opportunities to learn to climb that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

“I couldn’t believe this Fund existed – applying for it was simple, accessible and I felt supported throughout. The application process didn’t feel like others I’d done in the past, it made me feel like more than just another ‘stat’. The staff were so supportive and really helpful.”

Finally, she acknowledged what is unique about the Transition Fund: “I was trusted to manage the funding and spend it on something that would help me as a young person. The Transition Fund allows young people to just focus on being young – it’s not about medical bills or appointments, it’s something just for them and allows them to try a new experience – and that really is amazing.

"Despite living alone since I’ve been sixteen and have been independent on paper, someday and periods of my life have been about surviving – this fund helped me support my living during a significant part of my transition, support my wider wellbeing, and crucially help me just feel young and access an opportunity without financial stress or worry. My only regret is that I didn’t find it sooner!”

Feeling inspired by Eireann’s story? If you are a young disabled person aged 16-25 and living in Scotland, you too could benefit from the Transition Fund. Simply fill out an application form to tell us about your goal and how the Transition Fund can help you.

Learn more about how to apply here.

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