This participant tells his story:
"I had a great life with no worries. I acquired a brain injury after an accident at work. Prior to the accident, I had worked as a driver for years. I was now faced with the prospect of no job, no income and the loss of being the main bread winner for the family. On top of that I had to learn to live with the impact of a traumatic brain injury. I had difficulties with memory, planning, organising and fatigue. I found my situation very frustrating because in my own mind I was capable of doing all the things I had done before."
He was referred to the Health and Social Care Trust Community Brain Injury team for rehabilitation. He continues:
"When I was ready I progressed to Cedar’s ESF Brain Injury Service for vocational rehabilitation where I met my keyworker.
A lot of work went into teaching me that I could do the majority of the things I wanted to do, but at a slower pace and taking breaks to reduce mistakes, fatigue and frustration. I was also encouraged to get essential skills qualifications in Maths, English and Information Technology, while trying out work placements to find a new career path as I had realised at this stage that driving was no longer an option for me.
During his time with Cedar one of the work placements was with the National Trust:
"Cedar helped me to develop this into a volunteer role doing ground maintenance. As my confidence grew and a new interest developed into the fascinating work of this placement, I was eventually offered paid work there as a tour guide. Later, the National Trust offered me an apprenticeship in blacksmithing. For me this moved me on to another level of confidence. I am thoroughly enjoying learning new skills.
I have found a unique role that is fulfilling and interesting. My employer and fellow workers are very supportive and there is a strong team spirit. It has taken a number of years to get to where I am now. At times it wasn’t easy, but with the right support network to find the opportunities and support to work around the barriers that came along, I was able to drive forward to achieve more than I had expected."