Earlier this week councillors on Derry City and Strabane District Council reacted angrily to news that the Education Authority is to slash funding on youth services in Derry by up a third.
And that has now left Eamonn Doherty unemployed after being told he no longer has a job at Derry Youth and Community Workshop (DYCW).
Budding actor Eamonn, who had a cameo role in series three of the hit Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls, has now been left despondent about his future.
The 23-year-old contacted Derry Daily this week wanting to tell his story about losing his job at DYCW and what the future holds for him.
Here is Eamonn’s story in his own words: “When I finished my degree in May 2021 my next step was getting employment but I knew it would have been a challenge given my disability.
“So I got in contact with the Engage programme, I can’t remember who I was chatting to who recommended it, within DYCW there’s a few programmes so I was on the Engage program which helps people with disabilities find work best suited to them as an individual and their needs/expectations.
“Me and my friend Sean went up for a meeting with Michelle McClafferty who is the program coordinator, we discussed potential suitable jobs. About a week or two later Michelle had an idea to put me on work placement to allow her to see me in action.
“I did placement until November last year then I got offered a JobStart opportunity with them, basically doing admin and computer work etc.“This was for nine months and that finished in August of this year so then they decided to keep me on until March 2023 when DYCW could face closure.
“At the time we thought more funding would come through but it hasn’t so basically I’m back to square one in March of looking for employment with the barriers I faced before I was employed by Derry Youth and Community Workshop.
“I think this will have a massive impact on staff and of course clients’ mental health.
“The past few years have been tough with covid, lockdowns and restrictions and now we’re faced with this, being told that you will be put on redundancy the week before Christmas just takes the whole buzz and excitement away.
“Derry youth has been running since 1978, that’s 44 years of hard and persistent work by all staff throughout the years and again I worry about my own and my colleagues mental health.
“My anxieties, my mental health and we’re already in a cost of living crisis and just gaining employment again will be difficult and all the other employees in DYCW just treat me like everyone else and see me for who I am despite my disability so if I can get other employment it won’t be the same.
“In my opinion from my experiences I think if you’re applying for employment with a disability it’s really difficult.
“It feels to me like people just see the disability and not the actual person for who they are. I think more people with disabilities should be given the chance.
“I know there are laws for disability regarding employment but sometimes more disabled people should be given the opportunity to show what they can offer employers.
“Since we got the official confirmation of redundancies it’s all I can think about.“I am well qualified with a degree and all my exams from school. My work authority is so strong but it’s just getting other employers to realise that.
“At this moment in time I am worried what the future holds.
“I would just like to say thank you to DYCW for giving me this amazing opportunity. Everyone there is amazing as well as the employees who I have made friends for life,” added Eamonn.Tags: