Meet our Members
Ursula Campbell, Ballymoney
Ursula is a member of CAN’s Management Board. She is an active self-advocate and has represented her peers on many different stages!
“My name is Ursula Campbell. I am a woman with a learning disability. I went to Ballymoney High school and struggled with my studies.
After leaving school the only thing I was offered was the tech. I hated it – being forced to study when you find it difficult is not good.
I didn’t have the right qualifications I needed to get a job and I became withdrawn and was really unhappy. There was nothing for me in the area and I had to keep living with my mum and dad.
CAN came into my life when I was at my lowest point. I was offered a placement at Can Can Recycling and I learned all about work building my skills and my confidence went through the roof.
I joined a Health Programme and learnt more about being a woman and what that means, about how to take care of myself and how to keep safe.
I also became a Shadow Councillor, speaking up for people with learning disabilities and making sure our voices are heard.
Thanks to CAN, I was able to move out of my mum and dads home into my own house, got a dog and stood for election to the board of Directors at CAN and I am now working in Ballymoney.
I’ve a lot of friends and this year, a video I made for UTV Fixers, won me a place at an International Conference in America where I got the chance to speak to over 3000 people… CAN changed my life!.”
Emma Patterson, Ballymena
Emma attends the Base Ballymena and is on the Shadow Council at CAN. She was recently voted onto CAN’s Management Board. We asked Emma to speak about what she gets up to during the week at “Better Days, My Way” at the Hilton, Templepatrick and here is what she had to say…
When the Ballymena base opened things changed for me for the better.
I made new friends and got to see old friends. I got to go on activities like Go-Karting, train trips and circus skills etc. I was happy & looked forward to going to the base.
I want other people to have a chance to do things like this & get to decide for themselves & have fun, meet new friends & learn things.
I also work in B&M bargains on a Monday from 9.30 to 4.00. It’s good and it gets me out of the house. I like talking to customers & helping them. I learned about the things we sell & how to stock them. Work makes me more confident.
I work in a charity shop on a Friday from 9.30 to 4.00. I help to sort out the clothes, what’s good & what’s bad & we sell them. The people that I work with are nice & they look out for me.
2 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to speak up for myself & others & wouldn’t have dreamed about being able to stand in front of people. I am much happier now with my life and always look forward to new experiences and challenges.”
“I attend CAN two days a week and am on the WE CAN programme. I really enjoy my work at CAN Can Recycling in and sorting waste materials. I do find some things difficult like weighing the clothes and recording information but I am still learning and the staff help me. The staff and trainees are all very helpful and friendly and I have made many new friends.
The placement is helping me get ready for work and I have learned many new skills. I have gained Asdan Qualifications in fire safety, health and safety at work and time management. I really enjoyed completing the Asdan modules and hope to gain many more over the next few months.”
Wesley Nevin, Garvagh.
“I attend CAN 3 days a week and am on the WE CAN programme. WE CAN is helping me build my confidence back up to be able to go back into employment. I enjoy my time in the Upcycling department and have become skilled at painting, woodwork and basic joinery. I enjoy having the opportunity to give a new lease of life to furniture people have thrown away as well as creating new objects out of waste wood, oil drums etc.
As a participant at WE CAN I have been able to gain a number of qualifications which will help me move into a job and have a support network to help me take those first difficult steps.”