Alex acquired a brain injury in 2015 and the following year joined Cedar’s Southern Inclusion Works programme after being referred by the Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team. 

In order to support Alex to achieve his goal of becoming more active in his local community, his Cedar Case Officer agreed an action plan with him that included: Cedar’s in-house training in order to practice and develop memory, concentration, planning & organising skills; preparation for driving theory test to allow Alex to be more independent; identification of a number of voluntary roles & work tasters to test out work options to allow Alex to make decisions about future study; accessing community activities; and finally, developing relaxation and sleep management techniques to learn how to manage fatigue.

Alex was supported to attend Nordic Walking, Fit for You and Head Injury Support groups to build his confidence and stamina, and increase his weekly activity. 

When Alex started with Cedar, he suffered with fatigue. 

“Before I started working with Cedar I had no confidence. I was very shy and didn’t like speaking to new people.  Through the various activities I have done, I feel I now communicate with more confidence e.g. the walking football and the Nordic Walking has allowed me to meet people in an enjoyable environment.”

He continued:

“I have problems with memory and being organised, but the group training I completed with Cedar helped me learn ways to get around this by using my phone for reminders. This helps me feel more organised.” 

Through the course of his Cedar programme and being supported to gradually increase his activity, Alex is now able to attend full-time study. In September 2017 Alex enrolled in a Fresh Start course at the Southern Regional college (SRC) Lurgan which was aimed at helping people build their confidence. Following this Alex became interested in a career in barbering.  His keyworker arranged for him to visit a local barber shop to find out about the role and supported Alex to enrol on NVQ Level 2 Barbering which he commenced in September 2018 at SRC Lurgan. He has been making steady progress through this course and hopes to complete it in summer 2019.

Alex also passed his practical driving test in February 2019.  Alex and his keyworker had met regularly to revise his driving theory in the run up to both his theory and practical tests.  All this hard work has now paid off and Alex has taken delivery of his new car! He is enjoying the increased independence this has brought.  

Speaking about reaching this milestone Alex said:

“I feel nervous but excited to start my new journey!” 

Being at the stage in his course where he is cutting hair using the practical skills he has learned in his studies Alex needs males to volunteer to have their hair cut by him, in order to help him gain his qualification.

“I’m now studying a barbering course and in order to pass assessments I really need help from male volunteers who are willing to have a haircut or beard trim.  If you think you can help please get in touch.”

 If you can attend SRC Lurgan on Tuesday’s between 4.45pm – 6.45pm or on Thursdays between 2pm-5pm then please contact Alex’ keyworker Breige Quinn on 07525 898820 to book yourself in!

What is Inclusion Works?

Inclusion Works supports adults with disabilities who are keen to build employability skills and experience to be work ready, then moving into a paid job, college course or volunteering on leaving. Specialist physical disability, ASD and brain injury support is available and tailored to each individual and their needs. Following initial assessments, participants will build an action plan, drawn from a menu of choices to address their personal barriers and agree solutions to meet their employability and inclusion goals. Inclusion Works is person-centred, encouraging and supporting individuals to design their own programmes around their needs and aspirations, building confidence and independence.

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy. Funding is also provided by the Department for Communities and all five local HSCTs in Northern Ireland.

Want to know more?

If you would like to find out more about Cedar’s Inclusion Works programme please visit our dedicated page. You can also keep up to date with Cedar through Facebook and Twitter.