Whizz-Kidz, the disabled children’s charity has just been granted funding from The Big Lottery Fund, which will enable them to increase their services for young wheelchair users in Scotland.

The £343,114.00 grant will support Whizz-Kidz’s Wheeling for Change project, which will empower young wheelchair users in Scotland through a dynamic programme of youth clubs, camps, wheelchair skills training and work placements. The project ultimately aims to help young disabled people increase their confidence, build connections within local communities and prepare them for an independent adulthood.

Rian Hiney, 18 from Falkirk, is Vice Chair of the Whizz-Kidz Kidz Board and representative for Scotland. He said: “I have been attending the Whizz-Kidz club in Glasgow since 2013 so I have first-hand experience of the impact these services can have for young wheelchair users. Whizz-Kidz has drastically improved my confidence and self-esteem and given me the opportunity to take on leadership roles, and I’m really excited to see how these services can now have a similar impact on even more young disabled people.

“Thanks to the players of the National Lottery, Whizz-Kidz will be able to provide a bigger a range of services in Scotland, helping more young wheelchair users lead a fun and active childhood while preparing them for adulthood.”

Natalie Bell, 22 from Glasgow has been attending Whizz-Kidz clubs since she was in school. She says: “Whizz-Kidz has played a massive role in my life over the years. I feel like I have been on a journey with them. I first started going as a way to make new friends and meet new people, now, years on, I am actually a volunteer at the local Glasgow clubs. It feels so good to be able to give something back and I am truly excited for this new funding as I know it will allow us to reach new people and do even more stimulating activities”

Over the three years, the grant will allow Whizz-Kidz to expand its youth clubs from Glasgow and Edinburgh to an additional location, as well its leadership programme for young wheelchair users. The project will also see Whizz-Kidz provide young wheelchair users with residential camps where they can develop vital independent living skills, as well as work placements to help set them on their career path. Overall the Wheeling for Change project aims to provide unique opportunities for over 300 disabled children and young people across Scotland.

Jo Rhodes-Jiao, Head of Services North at Whizz-Kidz, said: “We are absolutely ecstatic to have received this funding from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, which will make an enormous difference to the lives of disabled children and young people. We recognise that there is often a lack of activities tailored for young wheelchair users so we are excited to be able to organise clubs, camps and work placements to give them life changing experiences and allow them a positive transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

Each year, the Big Lottery Fund Scotland distributes millions of pounds of the National Lottery’s good cause money to community groups and charitable projects around the UK. Projects like Wheeling for Change are made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery.

Whizz-Kidz has transformed the lives of over 20,000 disabled children and young people since 1990 – often, literally overnight. It supports 2-25 year-olds by providing the vital mobility equipment, support and life skills they need, to help them fulfil their potential and achieve their goals.

If you would like further information please visit our website at www.whizz-kidz.org.uk.

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