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ILF Scotland has reached a £2.5 million funding milestone through its Transition Fund, and has just received Scottish Government backing to extend its remit to help even more young disabled people and those with long-term conditions across Scotland.

The organisation currently provides financial awards and grants to over 3,000 disabled people in Scotland to help them live independently and to participate in their communities.

Since 2017, the public body has approved over £2.5 million in Transition Fund grants for disabled people aged 16-21. The fund will now extend support to include eligible recipients aged between 16-25. The Transition Fund aims to help promote independence, community participation, social inclusion and confidence amongst young disabled people to help them make a smoother transition from childhood into adulthood.

More than 1,050 young people across every Scottish region have received grants from ILF Scotland, with several hundred further applications expected to be approved over the coming months. To date, successful applications include funding for horsemanship lessons, start-up money for a bakery business, DJ equipment, vocal coaching and driving lessons.

The expansion was announced by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman at a recent event in Glasgow to celebrate the achievements of Transition Fund recipients. Speaking of the expansion, she said: “The fund has helped young people develop their independence, confidence, community participation and social interactions. It’s clear that their lives have been improved for the better.

“The extension of the fund will enable those young disabled people, who have perhaps missed opportunities so far, to take up a new activity, develop a social enterprise or pursue other dreams. I look forward to hearing about the achievements of more young disabled people through this fund.”

Many of the young people have used their funding to help them into work, either by gaining qualifications or launching and developing their own businesses and social enterprises.

Andrew Batchelor from Dundee, who is 19 and has autism and hemiplegia, received financial support from ILF Scotland to open studio space for his social media brand, Dundee Culture, which showcases Dundee life through art, food and culture.

Andrew said: “I would encourage other young disabled people like myself to apply for funding, it helps young people live independently and helps those young disabled people with their next steps after leaving school or college. I can’t thank ILF Scotland enough for making that transition easier for me.”

Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland added: “£2.5 million in funding is an incredible milestone to have reached. We are delighted that so many young disabled people have gained opportunities to try out new activities that promote their independence and are even happier to learn that more young people will benefit thanks to the Health Secretary’s announcement of the fund’s extension.

“The transition period from childhood to adulthood can be challenging for all young people, but it has been identified as a time when disabled people can be particularly vulnerable. I know from meeting with many Transition Fund recipients first-hand what a difference this funding has made to their confidence and ability to be involved with their communities, during what could otherwise be a very isolating time for them.

“There is more to be done, and we look forward to welcoming new applications to the Transition Fund.”

The ILF Scotland Transition Fund is open to all young disabled people aged 16-25 living in Scotland who need support with a health condition. Applications can be made here.