2021 ESF case study - People 1st - Community Family Support Programme

The Community Family Support Programme, delivered by People 1st, is for families wanting help and support to address any health, social and economic issues that impact their daily lives. It is aimed at people aged 16 or over who are not in education, employment or training and is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

This participant joined the Community Family Support Programme to receive support with learning to pass her driving theory test. She found this challenging due to having a learning difficulty explaining, “I find it hard to stay motivated and focused on tasks when left to do these on my own”. The participant was put in contact with the Community Family Support Programme through a local community group.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, contact was made by phone by the participant’s Family Liaison Officer (FLO). She explained about the support she could provide and how, to accommodate the needs of the participant, virtual classes could be done on a one to one basis or in a small group. The participant was happy to do one to one weekly sessions.

Providing online access

Due to the participant’s disability, she lacked confidence and access to technology to complete online learning. Support was given to overcome these barriers by the FLO through appointments, emailed resources to help with confidence building and making the learning material accessible for the participant. The FLO accessed help and provided a device and a Wi-Fi dongle for the participant which were delivered to her home address. This allowed the participant to access online classes and learning opportunities while in lockdown.

The participant has attended weekly classes for the last 10 months. Her confidence has grown with a routine and practising what she is learning weekly. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the participant had to postpone booking a theory test, however she is continuing to practice using her new device.

The participant said

“Without the help from the FLO, I would have given up trying to pass my theory test. She has kept me motivated and building my confidence with every class. I plan to get my theory test after the pandemic, start my driving lessons again and eventually pass my driving test. This will give me and my children more independence.”

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