Cedar service users discuss service provision with Peter May, Permanent Secretary Department of HealthThe Cedar Foundation (Cedar) welcomed Peter May, Permanent Secretary Department of Health, to Balmoral Training and Resource Centre. During the visit Elaine Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), explained how Cedar supports individuals and families living with disability, autism, and brain injury to live the lives they choose. The visit provided an opportunity to illustrate the wide range of Cedar services that enable people with disabilities to get the most out of life and to be fully included in their communities.

This event allowed for communication around the issues and challenges presented by the conclusion of European Social Funding and the direct impact funding challenges have on people living with disability.

Elaine Armstrong, CEO, and keynote speaker said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Permanent Secretary and Department of Health representatives to Cedar. It was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the daily impact of services and positive outcomes for people living with disabilities in the local community. It was important to demonstrate the challenges and impact that the sector has faced recently on account of funding changes. We will continue to work towards our Vision of an inclusive society for all.  We are extremely appreciative of the time taken by the Permanent Secretary for direct engagement with our organisation and our service users.”

Cedar service users took the opportunity to illustrate how they have benefitted through engagement with services. A Service User spoke of their individual goals of self-employment and how voluntary placements provided experience relevant to their career pathways. Others highlighted how they had been working towards social inclusion through completing independent travel training and becoming Chair of Cedar’s Southern HSCT User Forum whereby she facilitates advocacy and consultation with people living with disability in the locality. Finally, another described how they had attended courses that progressed their academic journeys leading to qualifications in Sociology with Policy and Sports Journalism.

It was evident from the discussions that the support that Service Users received had helped with practical and personal development leading to opportunity, choice, and inclusion.