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Niamh's story

Niamh Woods is getting creative and more active thanks to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund.

The 23-year-old from Glenrothes in Fife was given financial support to buy a new digital camera, laptop and printer and get photography lessons.

She was also given funding to buy a new e-bike and join her local gym to improve her fitness.

“It’s going to change my life forever, I think, because it’s going to give me an opportunity to do other things,” she said.

The Fund helps young disabled people in Scotland “try something new” – providing funding support to help recipients learn new skills and build their confidence.

“I probably want to make greetings cards or pet portraits for people – and maybe weddings and stuff down the line,” said Niamh. “I’d maybe start my own business.”

Niamh, who has a learning disability, felt isolated when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“I had made a wee bit of a friend circle…. We used to go to the pub for our lunch and back to houses and talk about stuff. But when the pandemic came around that all stopped, so we haven’t done it in a while,” she said.

Niamh says getting the new camera will give her more confidence to take pictures. Her e-bike will be used to get her to photography assignments and also attend her local gym without the support of her parents.

“It’s about giving me a little more independence,” she said. “I don’t need them to help me get there.”

Niamh’s father Kevin discovered the Transition Fund online and helped his daughter apply. “It’s been absolutely fantastic,” said Kevin. “It’s going to open up so many opportunities for Niamh now to go and engage with the community a bit more and be a bit more independent.”

Cheryl Douglas from ILF Scotland says: “Niamh applied after the end of her time at college. She was struggling to identify a way forward and find productive day-to-day activities to keep her physically fit, connected to her community and enhance her independence. 

“Niamh’s goals were to increase her independence through attending the gym independently, to develop new, creative skills and to be active and healthy.

“Niamh had already taken positive steps within her physical health and had lost three stones at the point of her applying to the Fund. Her gym membership and bike will support her to continue in her fitness journey.”

If you’d like to find out more about the ILF Scotland Transition Fund – visit the ILF Scotland website. You can also call 0300 200 2022 or email: enquiries@ilf.scot

Written in September 2022

niamh woods and her family
Niamh Woods holding the bike bought through the ILF Scotland Transition Fund. With her is her parents and pet dog.

Audio

Listen to Niamh Woods talk about the support of the ILF Scotland Transition Fund.

Transcript

Niamh says: "I got the funding for this. I got a new bike and camera and printer stuff. And it's going to change my life, forever I think, because it's going to give me an opportunity to do other things. Probably take my bike to the caravan with me and cycle all around Glenrothes and take my camera with me, to take pictures of the wildlife and the surrounding area where I live. And take it out without being bothered by anything else. I took some pictures before you came and tested it out and it's really good actually. It's better for me to explore the world a wee bit more with the equipment I've got the now. I probably want to make greetings cards or pet portraits for people and maybe like weddings and stuff down the line - maybe start my own business.... So it will give me a bit more confidence to take pictures and then develop it into a business for people who want to pay money for my prints. And probably they want to think I've done a good job with the pictures I've been taking. I want to grow that out a bit more."

Audio

Listen to Niamh's father, Kevin, talk about her story - and applying to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund.

Transcript

Kevin says: "Niamh finished high school. Then she went and did a supported course at the local college. It was good for her: it allowed her develop some wider skills, etc., develop / gain new friendships, things like that. When college finished, there was no effective stepping stone for her at that point. She was 22 years old and there was no effective 'what's next?' So, (I think) we had the double whammy of having that and also the fact that, as a society, we were all in the throes of the pandemic as well. The social circle started to diminish. The friendships became fewer - and Niamh became a lot more withdrawn and isolated and was spending a lot of time in her room, maybe just on her phone or her tablet. We realised it wasn't good for her. So Laura and myself tried to then do a lot of research in terms of what we could do for her .... You know, what was available? What was out there?

"As part of the research I found the website for the ILF - looked at that and - to be honest - thought this seems too good to be true, sort of thing, you know. I put in an application, with Niamh's permission.... I put in an application.... Have to say, your application process is really pretty simple, straightforward. It didn't take any time at all.

"Now the opportunities that the funding from ILF have provided Niamh is fantastic ... It will allow her to do (as I've said) a lot of different things that perhaps wouldn't have been available to her - or achievable for her - without the funding that's provided.... What I would say: if anyone has a child in a similar position to Niamh's, then go for it.

"It's a wonderful thing."

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