Charity Commission investigates Something Special

Something Special
Image caption Something Special had been operating at the old Craigbrack Primary School outside Eglinton

The Charity Commission has ordered an investigation into a special needs charity in County Londonderry.

The commission is looking into the administration and governance of Something Special, which deals with young adults with learning disabilities.

Parents received a letter saying the charity was being wound up and replaced by a new group.

The charity has not responded to the BBC and its gates have been locked.

The centre, based outside Eglinton, has used music to aid learning and social interaction.

Two letters recently received by parents and purporting to come from management appear to contradict each other.

The first letter, dated 11 April, states that Something Special was not closing but going through a process of transferring its activities from an "association" to an "academy".

On 20 April, families received a second letter saying the charity was closing down and the new academy would be taking it over.

'Left in the lurch'

Robert Cooke's daughter Louise, who is 23 and severely autistic, has been attending the group for the last five years.

"We have been left in the lurch," said Mr Cooke.

"For the past four weeks nearly now Louise has been in the house with us with no schemes or anything to go to.

"She's missing her friends now and she loves everybody that works in it. She's been asking when she can go back."

There is no suggestion of any wrong doing on anyone's part.

The Charity Commission said it would not be commenting any further while the investigation continues.

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