European Social Fund (ESF) case study - Cedar Foundation - Inclusion Works 1

The Cedar Foundation’s work is aimed at adults with physical disability, including complex congenital and acquired disabilities; brain injury; diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or long term health conditions. The project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

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.

Work placements

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."

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