The lockdown periods have been extremely difficult for young disabled people who have felt more isolated from society.

Ryan Johnstone has overcome many difficulties to become more outgoing and happy despite the setbacks of the recent lockdowns and is on track to pursue his dreams of teaching piano and studying music at university.

Thanks to funding from the Independent Living Fund, Scotland, Ryan was able to invest in a piano, to help him keep active and prepare for university.

Ryan, who is from Largs and plays a key role in the Irvine and Dreghorn Brass Band, managed to practice with his band mates for the first time face to face last week, since the pandemic began. Thanks to additional trombone lessons paid for by the fund, he was more than ready to play after digitally practicing for 15 months.

He told the Times: “I feel a lot more confident now. It’s important that people who have a disability get the same opportunities as people without a disability.”

Ryan plans to go to Edinburgh Napier University this year, and has thrown himself into his music studies. He has been learning about music promotion, developing his digital skills, while also practising with his band remotely and even delivering piano lessons online.

He continued: “I currently teach 10 students online, and I am hoping when I get to Edinburgh for university, I will be able to teach more people face to face.”

He has used further funding to buy recording equipment to help with his applications and has published his work on a new YouTube channel.

While he says it has been good being able to socialise online with band members and friends, Ryan is ready for more in-person contact, band practise and piano lessons.

He hopes his story will inspire other local young Scots with disabilities to go after their goals and apply to the Fund which helps 16-25 year-olds develop skills, grow their independence and increase participation with the community.

The upper limit of the Transition Fund was recently increased to £4,000 means young disabled people in Scotland can be even more ambitious. Applicants can find out more here: