Deputy Joe McHugh has announced a €115,402 funding package for the development of a bespoke holiday home to cater for people with severe disabilities.
The not-for-profit “Hoist Away” project, the brainchild of former teacher Una McGinley, is to be built on a site next to Culdaff Caravan Park in Inishowen.
Mr McHugh said: “This €115,000 funding was vital to get such a unique project of the ground and I am delighted to have been able to support such a worthwhile idea.
“The log cabin, specifically designed and built with wheelchair users in mind, will add a valuable new dimension to the tourism industry in Inishowen and open up one of the most beautiful parts of the country to people with disabilities, their families, friends and carers to share valuable time in a unique setting.
“The driving force of the project, Una McGinley, deserves huge credit for her ambitions to bring equality and enjoyment to people with disabilities.”
The LEADER funding of €115,402 will be boosted by another €38,467 of private investment to get the project off the ground.
Work on the bespoke, not-for-profit, log cabin holiday home is expected to begin later this year.
The three bed house, with one bedroom en suite, will be fully wheelchair accessible and will be equipped with a ceiling hoist linking the main bedroom to the en suite. All other equipment and facilities will meet the needs of people with disabilities.
The cabin will overlook the beach and will be let out to people with disabilities and their families or carers one week at a time.
Una McGinley, a former special needs teacher who cares for her partner who has MS, said: “There are people who do not have the privilege of going on holiday and spending time with their families and carers.
“We are not-for-profit. The whole idea is so that families can stay together on holidays.
“We would like to thank the people of Culdaff and the people who use the local caravan site for all their support and Anne Sperrin and Gillian McColgan of the Inishowen Development Partnership.
“We also want to thank two young girls from Derry who have worked tirelessly to support us – Shannon Doherty, 13, from Glenowen, who goes to Thornhill College and Molly Coyle, 14, from Creggan, who goes to St Cecilia’s College. I will never be able to thank those girls enough. It would not have happened without them.
“There is no other facility in Ireland like it and the vision to provide this specially designed home will open up the doors to more people and families, creating inclusion and ownership.”
It is hoped the log cabin will be ready for its first visitors in late September.
Last year, over 550 LEADER projects were approved across the country for funding of €14.6 million.