Success Stories

Our priority is to make a positive difference in the lives of the people and the communities we support. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at the success below and what our participants had to say.

Family Foundations Positive Directions Skills for Life & Work

Family Foundations

Lorraine | Family Foundations

Lorraine was referred from her local Jobs and Benefits office for employability support.  Upon starting with the Family Foundations team Lorraine was shy and had low confidence and self belief. Even though she suffered with social anxiety she was very keen to learn and to take part in as many activities as possible.

Throughout her time on the Family Foundations programme she took part in almost every workshop that was available: Gimme 5 Health & Well Being Programme, CV building and Interview Workshops, Money Management, Chronic Pain Clinic, Portadown Walking Group, Life after lockdown event, Halloween and Christmas workshops.  As well as all the workshops she also completed a Level 1 Certificate in ICT. She was a first-class attender on the programme having regularly reviews with her Career and Family Mentors (Lorna and Emma).  On each review we carried out it was clear Lorraine was growing in confidence and self-esteem week in week out. 

Lorraine became a valued volunteer with Clanrye working with our Independent Living Group and our Skills for Life and Work participants and has since gained employment fer as a Learning Support officer.  Lorraine also became an agent for the Body Shop and has had great success with it on a part time basis and is hoping to build a team and become a Team Leader.  

Lorraine quoted that when she began with Clanrye she never dreamt that her journey would go this far and how much she would achieve, how she loves the person she has become and how her husband has noticed a huge improvement in her confidence.  I personally am so proud of the achievements Lorraine has made and she is the sort of person that makes me smile and makes my job worthwhile.

Noemia | Family Foundations

Noemia was referred from her local Jobs and Benefits office for employment support in September 2021 and since then has truly blossomed into a positive and very confident individual who is proud of how far she has come. When she started her time with us Noemia felt low and was lacking in confidence and self-belief.

In her own words she needed a push in the right direction to set goals, and someone to believe in her. Before Noemia could even think about employment she needed to focus on improving so many different areas in her life- her mental wellbeing, social life, knowledge of her local community and family life. Moreover, her ultimate goal was to be able to speak English more confidently. Through attending regular ESOL courses signposted by her Family Mentor (Emma) Noemia’s English has significantly improved both verbally and written, thus greatly improving her self-esteem. Throughout her time on the Family Foundations Programme, Noemia took part in a multitude of workshops and activities: Take 5 Health & Wellbeing Programme, Halloween & Christmas Workshops, Art therapy sessions, Connect 2 Wellbeing programme, Money Management, Community Advice programme, weekly Walking Group, MeLearning courses, Healthy Relationships Workshop and CV & Interview techniques workshops. Through attending these various events, Noemia’s wellbeing has improved remarkably. 

Our team also supported Noemia’s husband Emanuel who was working in a difficult job that was low paid and unsociable hours. Emanuel met with the Career Mentor (Amanda) and she supported him to complete a job application form for Ulster Carpets which is 5 minutes from his home. Emanuel successfully got the job which has vastly improved homelife for the family, finances are better and childcare responsibilities are shared. Having support with childcare has allowed Noemia to be self-employed working as a cleaner and the Family Mentor supported her to create a business page and market this, her business is growing and so is her opportunities. Noemia also began volunteering at Clanrye Group and now leads our weekly Walking Group. Noemia feels socially included in her community and is excited for her future with a positive mental outlook on life. We are extremely proud of Noemia’s achievements! 

Noemia stated: “The people of Clanrye Group are so brilliant! My Family Mentor has really helped me and my family! My husband is so happy in his job thanks to Clanrye. My confidence has improved the most, I loved the wellbeing programme and walking group. Before I was sad and now I am very happy, thank you.”

Positive Directions

Cathal | Positive Directions

Cathal, 23 joined Clanrye Group, Positive Directions Programme, Mayfair Business Centre, April 2019.  His mum accompanied him on his initial visit. His mum explained that Cathal needed to know that he would receive a high level of support to learn and would be made feel welcome and cared for. He immediately felt that Clanrye Group could provide this. Cathal has advised that he was nervous at first when joining Clanrye, but very quickly was given plenty of warm welcomes.

He transitioned gradually until he felt comfortable in his new surroundings and increased his attendance to two days per week. 

He stated, “Being there, I felt part of this community of well-rounded and likeable people who wanted to help not just myself, but all participants succeed in their desired careers.”

His aspirations were to gain employment preferably in the media industry and as he had already exhausted opportunities within this sector, he was prepared to move towards an administration role.  He had few friends and wished to have an improved social like. He was afforded the opportunity and was able to meet like-minded people.

Cathal explained, “Clanrye understood my autism and social difficulties and they would encourage me to join in and mingle with others and share my passion for film culture while listening to their passion and interests.”

With the high level of support from staff, his resilience and concentration improved. He began to believe in himself. He was delighted as he progressed through his qualifications and increasingly became competent in ICT skills.

Cathal received extensive employability support to apply for jobs and to participate in mock interviews. 

Cathal was successful and gained employment as an administrative assistant commencing 24 February 2020.  He was thrilled to have gained this position. He knew that he had the potential to progress within it.

He also gained EL3 and Level 1, Digital Employability qualification; ECDL Level 2 Extra/Core.

He has commented on the impact these qualifications have had on him and how they have been the catalyst to gain employment. 

Cathal advised that when he received the job,

 It was very surreal but I was just so excited and tremendously happy for receiving this new job, I felt that all the hard work I made over half a year really paid off in the end and I owe it to Clanrye for their commitment.”

In recognition of the unlimited support, provided to Cathal, his parents issued an email:

“A sincere thank you from all the Carson’s. We deeply appreciate the support that you have given Cathal. The support Cathal received which allowed him to gain his ECDL and the hours of interview preparation were only surpassed by the kindness, the belief in Cathal and all the encouragement he received when he was unsuccessful in an interview.

Cathal has an amazing ability to attract lovely people into his life and this was certainly borne out when he met you all in Clanrye.

Thank you so much for making such a difference to our son’s life.

The kindest of regards , Siobhan and Dominic”

Kathleen | Positive Directions

A graduate in English from the University of Ulster with a Certificate in Community Work from Queen’s University.

For 14 years after leaving university Kathleen worked in a wide range of community development jobs in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and England.  These included working with children and young people, disabled and deaf people, the traveller community, homeless people and generic community groups.

After undergoing breast cancer treatment Kathleen decided to refresh her office skills and undertake ICT qualifications and joined Clanrye Positive Directions in April 2015. 

In 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  This was a major shock.  As a result, I had to give up work.  Then there was a long period of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  During this time I was physically and psychologically drained.

As a start to getting back into employment I joined an IT skills course in Clanrye Positive Directions. This included an ECDL qualification and a range of other work related IT skills. Part of this course was inclusion in a work placement.  My work placement was with LearnSpark.  Here I had the opportunity to put the new skills I received into practice.  I felt ready to go back to work on a part-time basis.

I secured a part-time job as a Learning Resource Assistant with the Southern Regional College where I continue to work today.

Clanrye Positive Directions was an important step in enabling me to begin to work again.  Some of the things that I found particularly useful in this course was the opportunity to study with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds.  I also appreciated the individual support provided within the group context.  For example, when I was unable to attend some of the sessions I received personal tutoring to enable me to catch up.  The programme has not only been useful for me in my work and life but also the atmosphere created made it a very enjoyable experience for me.  

Sara | Positive Directions

Sara started training in November 2015.  She has a love for all things vintage and aspired to open up her own shop selling an array of vintage clothing and accessories.  The big attraction to Clanrye Positive Directions was the opportunity to gain formal qualification in retail and get involved in Social Enterprise Activities.  True to its word, Sara was exposed to and challenged by various Social Activities including Pop Up Stands at the Quays Shopping Centre, making wedding favours, preparing for a Bridal fashion show and much more.

Alongside Sara worked in The Costume Corner and was involved in both aspects business namely the retail outlet and the theatrical hire company. Here Sara got to handle a wide range of vintage goods and together with Glenda and Kate they would prepare orders for various stage shows, coordinate with schools, drama groups for dispatch and manage returns.  In the retail side of the business Sara assisted customers with purchases and operated the till processing cash and card payments.  Determined to not let any opportunity pass her by Sara kept herself busy.  All her hard work paid off and ahead of schedule she achieved NVQ Level 2 Retail Skills. Feeling more job ready Sara secured employment with Poundland as a Retail Assistant.  She was thrilled.  Working now part time with Poundland she didn’t give up her dream to open up her own vintage business and her spare time is dedicated to her other business start-up ‘The Blue Cat Fish’  She says “it will take time to grow this business, but all trees start from small acorns.”

I had to give up work at the age of 19 due to a deteriorating condition.  I never thought I’d study or work again and my motivation was on the floor.  

Clanrye gave me the motivation and confidence to study and get a work placement.  I was helped to create a CV which in turn helped me gain employment.  They encouraged me to start my own stall which is great experience and will help me on my way to start my own business venture.

I am working part time in Poundland and have my own vintage business called ‘The Blue Cat Fish’.

Clanrye was great because they understood me and was empathetic and flexible. I have made some great friends. Clanrye really helped me get back on track and showed me that it is possible to have a positive future despite having a chronic illness.   

Skills for Life & Work
2021 Graduates


Between September 2018 and September 2021 Luca managed to achieve a Level 2 qualifications in Numeracy,  Literacy and  ICT. Along with a Level 1 in Horticulture, Personal Development and Employability. Luca was accepted to complete a Level 3 ICT course in SRC Portadown Campus.  Luca put his horticulture training to the test with work placements in the forest at Oxford Island and Chrysallis Women’s Centre where he had landscaping responsibilities. He also enjoyed working on his customer service skills in the Centres tuck shop. 


Between September 2018 and September 2021 Michael achieved an Entry Level 2 in Numeracy, Entry Level 3 in Literacy and a Level 1 in ICT. Alongside a Level 1 in Horticulture, Personal Development and Employability. Michael was accepted on to a Level 2 Hospitality course in the SRC Portadown Campus and enjoys popping in to say hello to our current hospitality students. Michael enjoyed getting his hands dirty at both his work placements in Oxford Island and C&J’s Animal Park. He didn’t need any help with his confidence during his time with us but instead he offered plenty of peer support to the other students.


Between September 2018 and September 2021 Hannah achieved a Level 1 in Numeracy, a Level 2 in Literacy and a Level 2 in ICT. Alongside a Level 1 in Retail, Personal Development and Employability Hannah was accepted onto a Media Studies Level 2 course in the SRC. Hannah was named Trainee of the Year for her hard work and dedication during her time with us. Her confidence grew as she progressed through the programme starting off behind the scenes in her placement at British Heart Foundation to serving customers at the front of the shop. 

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