European Social Fund (ESF) case study - EQUAL Programme

EQUAL (Empower, Qualify, Upskill and Learn) is a project organised by Limavady Community Development Initiative aimed at adults with a disability who are: not in education, employment or training; economically inactive or unemployed. The project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund 2014 - 2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant’s story

When this participant first started attending the EQUAL Programme he was extremely shy and anxious. He was easily overwhelmed and prone to panic attacks but he was willing, with the correct level of one to one developmental support, to be open to new experiences.

Initially when he started the programme he said he wanted to be a mechanic, but as the induction week progressed and he got to try different experiences, he decided that he wanted to do the Childcare course.

His work placement saw him based in a Family Centre where he worked on a range of family focused developmental programmes. The staff there supported him to identify and build on his strengths and to manage the challenges he faced.

Skills, knowledge and confidence grow

The developmental support provided saw his skills, knowledge and confidence grow.

A family member said:

“I can’t believe the difference in him. He loves being part of an all ability group where his talents and skills are recognised and celebrated. The experience has opened up a world of possibilities for him. It has given him expectations and hope for his future. We always knew he was brilliant but now he believes it as well.”

Positive male role model

The participant is now a Childcare Assistant at a playgroup where the skills he developed mean that he is an invaluable member of the team.

The Playgroup Leader said:

“He is a great fit, he adds something different, a positive male role model for the children, something which is hard to secure in the voluntary childcare sector.”


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