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Northern Ireland visit

2 July 2009

My Twitter followers will be aware of the action-packed couple of days I spent with the Big Lottery Fund in Northern Ireland last week. There were many highlights, however I want to draw particular attention to a Derry-based project called Destined Ltd.

Destined Ltd is a fascinating collaboration whose partners include Mencap, the local Health Authority and the local College. Their mission is to secure improvements for teenagers with learning difficulties.  The whole venture starts from the perspective of each young person, looking carefully at their aspirations, their skills, their motivations and their capabilities.

Effort is then organised around equipping the young people with the particular life skills they will need to succeed in life and work. It was inspiring to see how institutional and functional agendas were all secondary to the needs of the young people themselves.  The project is only in its first year but offered, for me, a very interesting model for personalised public services potentially applicable well beyond a single City in the North West of Northern Ireland.

I’ll be fascinated to see the progress they make, as indeed should many others who are keen to secure a better deal for our young people.

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