YOUNG people with disabilities will be equipped with confidence and practical skills to help them live a more independent life as adults.

Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons has donated £30,000 to Carlisle Youth Zone (CYZ).

The money will be used to fund the centre's Inclusion Club, which caters for children and young people with disabilities aged seven to 25.

It will support activities including sport, beauty, dance and a residential trip, as well as practical topics such as money matters and sexual and mental health.

Lynsey Buckle, CYZ development manager, said: “Making the transition from childhood to adulthood is difficult enough for able-bodied young people but can be even more difficult for those with a disability.

“Thanks to the generous grant from Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons we can help them gain confidence in themselves and their abilities so that they can integrate into mainstream society and develop healthy aspirations for their futures.”

Cumbria has the highest percentage of people with disabilities in the UK, at 20 per cent. All the Inclusion Club members have learning disabilities with five per cent of those who also have physical disabilities.

Lynsey explained young people with additional needs often face even greater transitional challenge as they approach adulthood, becoming frustrated, withdrawn and overwhelmed by the shift.

Supporting Disability through Transition is a new project which builds on the success of an earlier pilot study at CYZ and has been designed to provide safe, supervised exercises which challenge young people and equip them with the key skills they need.

The grant from Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, and their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

A spokesman for Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons said: “We’re very pleased to be able to help the Carlisle Youth Zone with their work to help young people with disabilities face the difficulties of living as independent adults.

“The life skills they learn and practice can make a huge difference to them as they look towards the future.”