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ILF Scotland has today launched a new campaign to encourage young people living with a physical or mental impairment to apply for funding and #TrySomethingNew.

The Transition Fund aims to encourage young people who need support to try new activities and experiences that will enhance their participation and social interaction with their communities, their independence and confidence.

Since launching the fund 12 months ago, nearly 700 young people have applied, with £5 million of funding available per year.

The #TrySomethingNew campaign hopes to inspire and encourage more young people across Scotland to apply by showcasing the breadth of activities the fund can support.

Applicants can apply for grants of up to £7,500 each, which can be used to fund activities and experiences that will improve their transition into young adulthood, such as driving lessons, sporting equipment and joining a class or club.

16-year-old high school student Dylan McCreath from East Renfrewshire received funding to attend a mainstream community college music studio for regular guitar, voice and piano lessons.

Speaking of the fund, Dylan said: “Learning music in a busy college environment has improved my links to the community and broadened my horizons. Thanks to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund, I now have one to one support in learning music, and it’s helping me to improve my confidence and skills.”

Gemma Lumsdaine, a 21-year-old GB Wheelchair Rugby squad member from Monifieth secured funding for a new lightweight wheelchair to improve her mobility and ability to travel independently.

Speaking of the Transition Fund, Gemma said: “Playing sports gives me the confidence I need to feel empowered and independent. Receiving a brand-new wheelchair from ILF Scotland has made all the difference to me. It will definitely help me improve my opportunities to access sports and hopefully realise my ambition to play wheelchair rugby for GB.

“I would really encourage everyone who is eligible to apply and try something new – who knows what might happen!”

All young people aged between 16 and 21, living with a physical or mental impairment in Scotland, are encouraged to apply. This includes people with autism, learning difficulties, physical disabilities and mental health, hearing or visual impairments. Those aged 15 are also eligible to apply, with successful applicants receiving their funds when they turn 16.

ILF Scotland CEO, Peter Scott, added: “It’s been wonderful to watch the fund positively impact so many young people. We want to reach more young people from across Scotland as they transition into adulthood.

“This period in a young person’s life can be challenging, especially for those living with a physical or mental impairment. As support from schools and children’s services comes to an end, many young people can become isolated, vulnerable and anxious.

Peter continued, “By receiving the funding and support to try something new, young people can gain the confidence they need to participate and interact with their communities. We encourage young people to think about new activities or life experiences that they feel would enhance their independence and involvement in their communities, and to apply for funding.”

More information on the fund and how to apply can be found here.