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Paralympian Sally Brown Inspires the Next Generation

9th November 2012

The National Lottery took one of the athletes it funds, Ballykelly-born Paralympian Sally Brown, to share her story and meet youngsters at a Lottery-funded project in Londonderry.

Seventeen-year-old Brown, who competed in the T46 100m and 200m events at the Paralympic Games in London this summer, joined members from Youth Action to provide inspiration and take part in one of the training sessions the centre offers.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, Youth Action is a voluntary organisation which aims to improve the life chances of youngsters across Northern Ireland. It provides informal educational programmes for 14 to 25-year-olds, targeting disadvantaged communities and vulnerable individuals.

Sally Brown said, “It’s been a wonderful experience to visit Youth Action and I’d be delighted if I inspired some of the people here today.

“National Lottery funding changed my life. It allowed me to train full time at superb facilities and receive world class coaching and medical support. Competing in the London 2012 Paralympics was a dream come true. It’s not just sport that benefits from Lottery funding. National Lottery players should be proud that they are helping Youth Action and thousands of other good causes all over Northern Ireland.”

YouthAction has received £496,962 of National Lottery funding to support isolated and vulnerable young people in disadvantaged communities in Waterside, Londonderry, who are not in education and are at risk of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

Working in partnership with community organisations and schools and colleges Youth Action provides young people with a range of services to improve their education and opportunities including youth work programmes, peer mentoring, training and accreditation courses, and volunteering and work placements.

Anne McTaggart, Development Manager at YouthAction, said: “We have enjoyed having Sally Brown join us today. Having such a successful Paralympian visit will certainly inspire the young people who take part in our ‘Positive Solutions’ project. The Big Lottery Fund has invested a great amount in this project which tackles economic activity among disengaged young men and young women. This supports them to build skills and prepare for the world of work which is hugely important in enabling them to take positive action and change their lives for the better.”

Demi Brown, an 18-year-old member of Youth Action who participated in the event, said: “Today’s been amazing, Sally is such an inspiration to everyone that’s here today and everyone in Northern Ireland that watched her in the Paralympics. It’s great to get the opportunity to meet someone that has achieved so much already in their life – I’ll definitely remember this for a long time.”

Brown is one of 1,200 National Lottery funded elite athletes. The funding allows her to compete and train full time to the highest of international standards. The National Lottery invested up to £2.2 billion in London 2012, allowing our athletes, venues and volunteers to shine on the world stage.

Notes to editors

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Image 1 caption:

Paralympian Sally Brown joins National Lottery funded YouthAction members as they present her with a piece of bespoke artwork. L-R: Demi Browne, Kendra McClean, Conor McGilliway (YouthAction worker), Heather McFaul, Sally Brown, Andrew O’Donnell, Ciaran Quigley (YouthAction member and artist), Emma Sharkey, Emma Johnson (YouthAction worker).

Image 2 caption:

Paralympian Sally Brown with National Lottery funded YouthAction member Andrew O’Donnell and artist Ciaran Quigley as they create a graffiti painting

Image 3 caption:

Paralympian Sally Brown joins in with a discussion with National Lottery YouthAction members, helping to inspire them with her experiences.

Notes to Editors:

  • The National Lottery has been changing lives for 18 years. National Lottery players have raised over £28 billion for Good Causes since the Lottery started in 1994. Over £6 billion of this has been invested in sport.
  • National Lottery funding enables 1200 elite UK athletes to benefit from world class coaching, facilities and medical support.
  • National Lottery funding is also inspiring future generations by upgrading local sports clubs and facilities, and providing opportunities for thousands more people to enjoy sport.

· Every week National Lottery players raise over £30 million to help change people's lives across the UK

  • From funding our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, to supporting our war veterans, to investing in our museums, local parks, community groups and Oscar-winning films, Lottery funding has been changing people’s lives for 18 years