European Social Fund (ESF) case study - Cedar Foundation - Inclusion Works 2

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.

Cedar’s Inclusion Works is a service that supports people with brain injuries and disabilities to gain employment or get back into work or education. The project is part funded through the Southern Health and Social Care Board, the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's background

Having spent his childhood in and out of hospital fighting a number of health conditions, this participant suffered a severe seizure and was left with a serious brain injury that had a major impact on his life. Taking part in the Inclusion Works programme has helped him through a personal ‘storm’ to make his ‘dream a reality’.

Focus on training or employment

The participant was referred to Cedar by the Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team to focus on getting back into training or employment. He worked with his Cedar Case Officer to set goals to be achieved over an agreed period of time. Cedar linked with another organisation, Start 360, who recommended a BA Honours degree through the Open University. With help from his Case Officer to apply for adjustments and financial support, he registered on the course.

His Case Officer commented,

“This participant took a year to develop his strategies. During this time he took part in a number of short-term courses, completed our ‘Personal Effectiveness After Brain Injury’ training and created his CV. This training allowed him to gain awareness of his own challenges, how to cope and ways to manage his anxiety. He began his degree in Youth Work with the Open University, who supported him by visiting him at home and allocating him ICT equipment which allowed him to study remotely.”

When asked about how Cedar had helped with his development he said,

“I feel that I have come a long way from the first day I was referred to The Cedar Foundation. When I first joined I was a very frustrated young person with quite a lot of insecurities and can only describe my life as a ‘storm’. In my Case Officer, I found someone who believed in me and could help me overcome the obstacles and barriers in my life.”

Doing a degree

He has already passed the first year’s module of his degree and has said,

“I hope and believe that I will achieve my degree and will be in full time employment working with young people. I will always have a debt of gratitude to Cedar, they helped me take my dream and turn it into a reality. I now feel I can achieve anything as a result of the work, time and effort Cedar put into me. I really cannot put into words what Cedar has done for me on a personal and career basis.”

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