European Social Fund (ESF) case study - The Cedar Foundation - Inclusion Works 3

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.

Inclusion Works is a person-centred service supporting individuals to design their own programmes around their needs and aspirations, building confidence and independence to meet their employability and inclusion goals. The project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014–2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

This participant required specific specialised brain injury support in order to assist her in completing a Foundation Degree in Horticulture.

As part of the participant’s final year studies she was offered a three month study opportunity overseas. Even though she was abroad, through the powers of technology she was able to stay on the Inclusions Works programme and was regularly in touch with her Case Officer (CO), keeping her up to date with progress and getting her assistance whenever needed with any challenges met. Knowing she had the CO by her side helped the participant to work and feel more at ease. This opportunity also led to her gaining new experiences and friends.

Work placement

To complete the course the participant needed 200 hours’ work placement experience, so while she was away the CO worked hard to find suitable placements and successfully secured a work placement in a garden centre for the participant’s return. Unfortunately, the work placement had to finish early due to the Covid pandemic, but the participant was able to use previous experiences to complete her studies.

Although things didn't exactly go to plan, the participant did gain some insight to the business. This has led to her wanting to work more in the growing sector and she is grateful that she had Cedar’s help to do this.

The participant has successfully completed her Foundation Degree in Horticulture and now works on a self-employed contract, managing a group of volunteers at historical parkland and gardens in County Antrim. She has also started an online Digital Media course at her local college, found for her by the CO. She also hopes to continue with her education and complete a BSc Degree in Horticulture, adding that she feels independent enough to take on this adventure herself.

The participant expresses her thanks to Cedar for all their help.

European Social Fund Northern Ireland logo containing text "European Union, European Social Fund, Northern Ireland"
European Social Fund Northern Ireland logo

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