Denise was referred to the Inclusion Works, Belfast, service in February 2020 by her GP.  She had suffered a stroke fifteen years previously while undergoing brain surgery for an aneurysm. She had to cope with total memory loss initially, however, she had the full support of her family, who helped her to recover and steadily regain the person she was, before she became ill. 

Denise commented:  

“I was very lucky as the support I received from my family and the Cedar Foundation helped me to get my brain working again.  Having to re-learn everything all over wasn’t easy, but achieving what I was able to do after my stroke, was far better than not trying at all”. 

Denise was keen to update her ICT skills during the lockdown and worked virtually on a one-to-one basis with Joe, the Inclusion Works SE Training Officer.  Getting up to speed with Zoom and Microsoft Teams were the first steps, enabling Denise to fulfil her role and attend the virtual meetings as the User Forum Vice Chair.  She is now able to meet again, on site, at Balmoral now restrictions are easing.  Denise has also been attending interviews via Zoom, as a User Forum representative on the panels. 

Denise is currently volunteering with Chest Heart and Stroke, demonstrating to others how being determined and working hard can aid your recovery.

At present she is working towards an OCR F16 Communicating Information Using ICT with Joe.  She completed the OCR M01 Rights and responsibilities - everybody matters with her Case Officer, Ashley, during the lockdown and has already received her certificate.

Denise reflected:

“I do need to concentrate hard on the important things, but I understand that it isn’t the end of the world if I get things wrong. In reflection I think if you work hard, and aim to achieve your goals you will get there in the end! Tomorrow is always another day”.

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.