European Social Fund (ESF) case study - Cedar Foundation - Inclusion Works 4

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

A participant who suffered a serious brain injury in a workplace accident, but returned to work with the support of the Cedar Foundation’s Inclusion Works project, tells his story.

He says:

“I was working in engineering when I suffered a serious brain injury, after which I was unable to work but was always keen to return to paid employment. I had difficulty managing tiredness, in planning and organising my time and I suffered from memory loss. I struggled to structure my week in order to avoid being overloaded.

Managing returning to work with a brain injury

Learning new tasks was very difficult and he found himself becoming anxious and stressed.

He continues:

“I knew that a key challenge was to manage the return to full-time work, while at the same time managing the effects of brain injury. The Cedar Foundation came in contact with me and I met with them every week to talk. Cedar supported me in many and varied ways.”

The Cedar Foundation proposed a phased return to the workplace, which helped him keep a record of daily and weekly activities.

The participant continues,

“ This enabled me to monitor my physical and mental stamina, as well as allow Cedar to chart progress. Together with Cedar, we drew up a structure which could be applied to each working day and week in the form of a timetable of tasks and scheduled breaks. This was so essential to manage fatigue.”

Other stakeholders

The participant hailed Cedar as an important bridge with other stakeholders.

He says:

“Cedar liaised with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to help complete Risk Assessments, which meant that everyone (individual, employer and HSE) was confident about task allocation.”

“Cedar also supported me in gaining new skills. In advance of a forklift training course, Cedar provided information to the tutor about adaptations and training approaches in order to give me the best chance to be successful. Cedar also prepared me for the course which helped reduce any nerves!”

The participant concludes,

“In addition, Cedar worked with my Occupational Therapist, family and employer to achieve a managed approach to a change in my job role. This was so important, because this change was impacting on my stress levels. I'm now working full-time, five days per week in a job that I enjoy and feel confident in.”

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European Social Fund Northern Ireland logo

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