Kate Spence standing in hospital smiling.Kate Spence is a remarkable woman who, while overcoming her own brain injury, is helping others at Craigavon Area Hospital in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Area. She has completed the Cedar Foundation’s Inclusion Works Programme which supports adults with disabilities to build employability skills and gain experience to help them become work ready and progress to a paid job, college course or volunteering.

Kate’s volunteer role involves being with a patient throughout their hospital visit on a one-to-one basis. This often includes supporting people who are anxious about hospitals and the procedures they are about to undergo. She assists patients who may have no support network to help them, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Her role involves working closely as part of the team on the ward in assisting and liaising with nurses and the sister in charge. 

Kate commented:

“Since I was diagnosed with a brain tumour 5 years ago after the surgery I have had difficulty with managing my fatigue and memory.  Following the support that the Cedar Foundation has provided me with I am now able to manage independently, with no support required.  It is very rewarding for me to be able to give my time to help others who need assistance during their hospital visit and seeing the difference it can make to patients”.  

Cedar's Head of Employability, Kieran Molloy said:

“Kate is a shining example of how, having successfully completed Cedar’s Inclusion Works Programme, she has gone out into the community to put the skills she has gained through her own brain injury recovery into practice in a very worthwhile voluntary role”.      

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.

Inclusion Works 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.  

Department for Economy and ESF Logo.