Special Projects

Brighter Futures

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.

The Brighter Futures project can help you to:

– Connect with your local community to find local supports

– Make plans for the future of your family

– Get answers to issues that you face as the parent of a disabled child

– Find others who have faced similar issues and share experiences

– Get a breather!

The Brighter Futures Project does this through:

 – Providing you with some practical support to get you started

– Helping you make plans for the future of your family

– Advocating on your behalf

– Social events for all the family

– Work with brothers and sisters to help them cope better

– Supporting your child to take part in activities within their community

– Giving you the opportunity to meet other parents.

To find out more about the project contact Pauline O’Hagan, Project Manager, on 028 6772 4700 or email pauline.ohagan@positive-futures.net.

The project is funded by the Big Lottery and run in partnership with Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), The ‘legacy’ WELB, Share Discovery Village, Oak Healthy Living Centre, Employers for Childcare, Independent Research and Evaluation at University of Ulster and Lady Anthony Hamilton Community, Farming and Environmental Representative.

Better Together

Better Together – bringing together people aged 18 or over with a learning disability and volunteers to follow shared interests

This project is designed to bring together adults with a learning disability and other adults who volunteer to help them follow their interests. Each participant is matched with a mentor who supports the person for one to two years. During this time, the person being supported will gain confidence and attain goals that might otherwise have proved impossible. We work in partnership with Belfast HSC Trust.

Location: Belfast

For more information, contact Karen Spence, Project Co–ordinator on 028 9074 1271 or info@positive-futures.net.

Here’s an example of how it works:

Gerald–Paul is a young man who, before becoming involved with Better Together, was regularly in trouble with the police.
He attended mainstream school but struggled and left with no qualifications. His typical day was spent sleeping after being up all night on his computer console.
Gerald was initially uninterested in the project but, with encouragement from Positive Futures and his social worker, he agreed to “give it a go”. He was matched with a mentor and began to meet him regularly (once a week most weeks). The real change came about when Gerald decided to take part in the programme at the Belfast Activity Centre (BAC). One of his real achievements at the BAC has been to help others push themselves to reach goals that they did not believe they could achieve.
Gerald is now father to a little girl. He has shown great maturity and has been active in his daughter’s care. With help from Better Together and his mentor, Gary, he has drawn up a CV to enable him to apply for jobs. He has grown in confidence and is determined to support his child.
Gerald has also attended the therapeutic programme run by the Belfast Trust. This was a huge personal achievement, since he had previously attended similar programmes but had not been able to complete them.
Gary, Gerald’s mentor says, “Gerald is like a different person now and has progressed so much in terms of maturity, confidence and respectfulness in such a short time. He is starting to turn his life around and is making great strides to a better future.”

Helping people live the life they want

“The Life I Want” – empowering adults with a learning disability, acquired brain injury or autistic spectrum condition to have choice and independence to live the life they want now and in the future

“The Life I Want” is a way to enable the people we support in our Supported Living Services to make decisions about how they spend their time, who they want to support them and how they are supported. As part of this, we work closely with the people we support, their family, friends and staff from other organisations, listening to everyone’s opinions so we can understand what is important to and for the person now and in the future. We call this event “Planning Live”.

A variety of person–centred tools are used throughout “The Life I Want” process to help us learn and understand what a “perfect week” looks like for each person. By thinking about what each person would like to do with their support hours, we can begin to assess what is achievable, and how we can ensure the person receives the right amount of support to enable them to achieve the life they want.

By empowering the people we support to make their own decisions and by challenging our own thinking about how we can fulfil these wishes, the people we support can achieve greater choice and independence to live life as they choose.

The story of 3 ladies who completed “Planning Live” shows how this project gives people power to transform their own lives.

Further information about “The Life I Want” process and the person–centred tools we use can be found by watching our “The Life I Want” Animate.

If you want to keep up to date with what’s happening in “The Life I Want” Project please follow our blog.

For more information, contact Jemma Ennis–Dawson, Project Manager on 028 9147 5720 or info@positive-futures.net.

Better Futures

Better Futures – family support for older carers

Better Futures, was established with support from the Big Lottery Fund, as a project for older people who care for a family member with a learning disability.

Research has shown that older carers often feel isolated and are fearful about the future care of their children. Better Futures staff and volunteers provided advice and practical supports as well as helping them plan ahead, so that we didn’t have the appalling situation in which people hope their children die before them.

The initial lottery funding came to an end in 2016 and the project was closed but it provided valuable data, having had its impact measured and reported on by the University of Ulster. The project also led to the establishment of the Carers Charter, which was launched at Stormont in June 2016. The Carers Charter sets out what feedback from carers identified as important in the way public bodies should treat lifelong carers. Positive Futures is actively lobbying for the Carers Charter to be enshrined in legislation.

Location: Bangor and Lisburn areas.

For more information, contact 028 9147 5720 or info@positive-futures.net.

Listen to Sherol’s account of how she has experienced support by Positive Futures.

To see how the project has worked, read John and Jacqueline’s story about the daily difficulties of being an older carer:

John Powell from Lambeg has cared for his daughter Jacqueline since birth. Jacqueline, who is in her 50s, has problems with her balance and speech and has a learning disability.

John, a widower, is 82. Since his wife Winnie died, he has had sole responsibility for Jacqueline.

“Until Better Futures came along, most of the time we couldn’t go out of the house. If we were at a shopping centre and Jacqueline needed to go to the bathroom, I had to ask a stranger to take her. It was easier not to go out at all. Apart from that, I’m not as fit as I used to be.

“I also have problems with all the forms we need to fill in. It’s hard coping with everything alone. But Better Futures has helped with everything. Jacqueline is able to get out again and I can get out on my own. It’s made me less fearful about the future.”