Anne Adams was keen to get more involved in her local community when her occupational therapist recommended that she visit Cedar’s Open Day in Balmoral Training and Resource Centre. During the event, Anne met future Key Worker Helen and discovered the support she could be offered as a person living with disability. She said:

“At the open day I discovered that Cedar offered a lot of support and information on how to approach different organisations about volunteer positions and how to disclose information about my disability.”

Twenty-six-year-old Anne lives with scoliosis and a chronic long-term pain condition and found that despite having a wide range of skills, such as a level 5 HND in Broadcast Journalism, significant barriers prevented her from finding a career. Therefore, Anne started on the Inclusion Works programme in Cedar in February 2017.

“Before working with Cedar, I didn’t know what to do and was nervous about volunteering, due to previous negative experiences. I was in the house a lot and felt isolated.”

Setting Goals and Putting Plans into Action

Anne worked with case officer Helen Savage to design an individual programme based around her needs and aspirations to build confidence and independence. Following initial assessments an action plan was drawn up to address personal barriers and agree solutions to meet her goals. She started volunteering for twenty minutes at a time. Through volunteering in a Cancer Focus charity shops Anne’s stamina and confidence grew.

With a strong desire to work with children, Anne was keen to take up a unique volunteering opportunity with the Time to Read project which involved going into a primary school twice a week to read with children. This longer-term opportunity helped Anne build up the stamina to volunteer for greater periods of time.

New Confidence, New Beginnings

A major outcome for Anne was that she established her own business as a Spanish tutor. Anne has been advertising her services through social media and is enjoying the success. At the point of exiting the program Anne’s confidence has developed dramatically. She hopes to continue working with children in the future both volunteering at the school and looking for other opportunities.

Speaking about her experiences with Cedar Anne said:

“Cedar are a very supportive organisation. They have helped me to get back my confidence and I am now volunteering in the community. I would recommend Cedar to anyone, it has been life changing. Helen was like my personal bodyguard. She was able to speak on my behalf and was able to be my voice. I’m very grateful for Helen’s hard work and she has always been cheerful and a continuous support over the last two years.”

Key Worker Helen said:

“Anne has been a delight to support over the past two years. It has been great to watch Anne’s confidence increase. Anne is always been very eager to give anything a try. At the point of exiting from the programme I wish Anne all the best for her future.”

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.