As the name suggests, staff and volunteers from these services support the whole family. They provide opportunities for children and young people to become more involved in the community and make it possible for parents, brothers and sisters to enjoy fuller lives.
Location: Bangor, Lisburn and South East Fermanagh (Lisnaskea area).
Read Rosemary and Oisin’s story, “Ending the isolation”, for an example of what a difference these services make:
“I knew my son Oisin was a Down’s syndrome baby before he was born and that there were a lot of things wrong with him, including heart and kidney problems. The scans suggested he wouldn’t survive for long. But nearly two decades later, I see him as my “boy wonder”.
That’s not to say he didn’t have endless health problems. I was always running back and forth to the hospital. My other children were just brilliant being there for him (and me), singing to him for hours, doing physio, even CPR. But they had their own lives and so eventually it was just Oisin and me.
It took its toll on us. I felt so isolated. Home didn’t have any bars but it was my prison.
Then a social worker mentioned Positive Futures. We’d been let down before by organisations who would say, “Oh yes we can do this and that for you and Oisin” – we would get our hopes up and when they didn’t happen, for whatever reason, it left us feeling even worse – so, I admit my first thought was “Here we go again!”
But when the girls from Positive Futures walked through my door, it was like a breath of fresh air. They were so dedicated and helpful. Before long, my Oisin was going canoeing, doing arts, crafts, trampolining; all sorts of activities filled his calendar. They even had Independence Skills courses.
I could see him becoming more confident. Best of all, he was learning to socialise and make friends. That was the part of his life that had been missing.
Positive Futures has been good for me, too. It has helped me find the independent woman that I once was. I have found support in a group of wonderful people who understand so well about our lives – people who care about me and my son.”
This Service provides outreach support to children and young people who have an autistic spectrum condition and their families / carers.
Location: Fermanagh, Omagh and Derry/Londonderry
Read Erin & Ronan’s stories for examples of the difference this service makes:
Brighter Futures is a family support project covering the Fermanagh area which aims to help families with a child between the ages of 0–12 that has a disability.
For more information, go to our Special Projects section.