As an umbrella body ARC is very clear it is not a service provider. However, there are times when ARC will pilot new ways of working as part of time limited projects, normally in collaboration with other partners. Where there is a common issue identified by our members, or our peers in England, Wales & Scotland, we proactively seek models to address through a pilot project.
Current projects include:
OPTIO is a two stage model being piloted for people with a learning disability aged from 16 – 65 with the overall aim of increasing social inclusion, their employability skills and providing opportunity and choice for enterprise and self-employment.
This project is an access programme which places individuals at the centre and empowers them to establish their plan for employment. Stage 1 is for participants to explore their aspiration and motivation for employment, incorporating innovative teaching on the concept of enterprise. Stage 2 expands upon the knowledge gained in Stage 1 as participants will partake in an Enterprise Challenge utilising the soft and work based skills they have acquired.
OPTIO is being run in partnership between East Belfast Enterprise and ARC (NI). The project has been made possible by the support of ARC members and through the funding of European Social Fund, Department for the Economy, and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
For more information:
Contact the ARC NI office – tel: 028 9038 0960
Past projects include:
Get A Life
Get A Life (GAL), a four year project funded by European Social Fund, Department of Employment & Learning and the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, looks at innovative ways of a person with a learning disability exploring the concept of enterprise. Through an advanced 8-week programme, the individuals will build their skills, knowledge, confidence and employability. This ground-breaking model aims to ensure the additional support needs of these target groups are met, and in turn we hope will generate greater choice and opportunity for people with a learning disability. For more information contact the ARC NI office 028 9038 0960.
Like the rest of the adult social care sector, the learning disability sector faces significant challenges in recruiting and retaining support workers. This is projected to become an even bigger challenge given the changing demographics and as a result there is acknowledgement that proactive work needs to be undertaken to address the pipeline of workforce coming into the sector over the next five to ten years.
The Getting Started Collaborative was a one-year pilot project offering 75 participants, who have been unemployed or economically inactive for at least 6 months, the opportunity of taking part in a pre-recruitment 8 week training programme, with a guaranteed interview upon completion with a provider who had real vacancies.
Read more about the results and success of the project in the report.
Download: Getting Started Programme Final Report
Lost for Words
Lost for Words (L4W), a project initially funded in 2011 by Community Foundation and more recently by the Health & Social Care Board, originated when a group of people with learning disabilities sought help to develop their skills in supporting peers who communicate without speech. ARC worked with a range of people with learning disabilities and staff in Muckamore Abbey Hospital to create an accessible training course. Further funding from the Health & Social Care Board has enabled L4W’s to encompass two programmes for learning and skill development, one for people with learning disability and one for those who support them. This reinforces the importance of working to promote a more inclusive society and ensure that everyone has their “voice” heard.
For more information contact Louise Hughes on 028 9038 0965.