Cedar secures EU social funding

Picture taken on site at F&M Smith Farm, Ballykinlar
Picture taken on site at F&M Smith Farm, Ballykinlar

Cedar’s Inclusion Works team has been successful in securing funding from the European Social Fund during the second call of applications.

The organisation wants to celebrate this and the success of the previous programme, having exceeded all targets with their participants.

Cedar supported over 700 people with disabilities to achieve their goals of employment and inclusion, including 112 people into paid jobs. For people living with disability this funding means that Cedar can continue to work in partnership with local councils, health trusts, employers and training providers to progress inclusion for people with disability through work, training, volunteering, gaining new skills and qualifications.

People with disabilities face multiple barriers to employment resulting in high levels of economic inactivity and social exclusion. Only 37.8% of working age disabled people are in work versus 77.9% without disabilities. People with disabilities are 2.5 times more likely to have no qualifications. Cedar has over 75 years’ experience of supporting people with disability and has demonstrated that these barriers can be overcome with specialist support.

Cedar were delighted to have a member from the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Community Brain Injury Team, Victoria Quinn, Occupational Therapist. She stated: “The close working partnership we have with Cedar Inclusion Works Service continues to support those living with a Brain Injury to achieve their vocational goals by either returning to the workplace or expanding their career choices.  

“Our service users value the support from Cedar and gain from the partnership working with the Community Brain Injury Team.”

Maria Mageean participated in the Inclusion Works programme after acquiring a Brain Injury. When asked about the challenges they faced in relation to training and work she said: “Trying to find a career in the agricultural sector that would be manageable for me, given the effects of my injury was a challenge.

“ I initially wanted to work in the dairy sector, but given the labour involved in using the milking machines and other equipment, this was not workable as it increased my back pain. Learning skills to manage my fatigue was a challenge. Agricultural work involves long hours so I knew I would have to find a way to manage my fatigue in order for me to be successful in this industry.”

Maria worked with Case Officer, Jordan Madden, 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 their personal barriers and agree solutions to meet her goals.

Maria commented: “It was really a matter of finding an area of agriculture that I enjoyed working in and then learning strategies that helped me manage my fatigue. Once I got in control of my fatigue I was then able to build on my hours of activity until I gradually got to the point where I was able to do a full weeks work, and that has allowed me to progress to where I am now.”

Cedar’s Director of Employability & Community Inclusion, Elaine Armstrong, stated: “We are delighted to be able to continue working with our partners in Health and Social Care, Local Councils, Employers and Training Providers to support people with disabilities to overcome the challenges they face to reach their potential and achieve significant goals of work and training.”

If you would like to find out more about Cedar’s Inclusion Works programme please contact iw@cedar-foundation.org, call 028 9061 2424 or 028 2565 9111. You can also visit www.cedar-foundation.org or link with Cedar via social media on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.