Derry man Liam McClintock to take a massive leap for Mencap

Liam McClintock is well-known to many people in Derry and is currently a valued employee at The Card Factory in Foyleside Shopping Centre.

He turned 30 years old this year and decided to mark the special birthday by undertaking a skydive, which is something he’s wanted to do for a long time.

Speaking to the Journal, Liam said he also decided to use the opportunity to raise money for Mencap, which has given him valuable support and guidance.

Mencap have been supporting people with a learning disability to find and keep jobs in Northern Ireland for over 30 years.

Liam is currently on Mencap’s Workable Programme, which is Funded by the Department of Communities.

He has excelled in his employment and recently won an award with The Card Factory due to his exceptional commitment to his role.

Liam said he wanted to help Mencap so they can continue to support others.

“Sometimes people forget about the fact that, for people with learning disabilities, it’s hard to get jobs. I think lots of people maybe don’t know about, or never heard of Mencap before. But, with the money I’ll end up raising, I think that will help them with funding and they’ll be able to support more people. Because, if it got to a stage where there was no Mencap, or they lost funding completely, then people younger than me will have no support and their families will have no support.”

Liam is ‘excited’ about the skydive, which is scheduled for the end of July and isn’t at all nervous.

“if I could do it today, I would,” he declared.

Elaine Mullan, Mencap NI Employment officer, said everyone is extremely proud of Liam.

“Liam isn’t holding back and that’s him in every aspect of life. He gives everything his all. He sets himself big goals, but he always achieves them.”

After securing employment in The Card Factory, Mencap was able to help Liam settle into his new role and supported him to complete all necessary training. They worked alongside him and made regular monitoring visits to ensure Liam felt confident and stayed on track.

Mencap were also able to offer Liam’s Manager and work colleague’s advice on how to best assist and support him in the workplace.

Liam is doing fantastic in his job. In his last review the Card Factory management said: “Liam is a valued employee, who is brilliant with customers and very reliable.”

Mencap have also helped Liam with personal development, linking him with new hobbies, social opportunities, and encouraging him to start his driving theory training with Destined.

Elaine added that Liam ‘is a joy to work with’.

“He is so enthusiastic and gives 100% to every task he is given. I really hope that people will support him to hit his fundraising goal.”

Liam’s goal is between £10,000 – £15,000. He has a Just Giving page and a coffee morning took place in the Mencap offices in Bishop Street on Friday.

There will also be a bucket collection outside Foyleside Shopping Centre on July 19 and all support would be very much appreciated.

You can support Liam by donating online at

Derry Journal

By Laura Glenn

Published 8th Jul 2024, 10:30 BST

Liam McClintock and his parents pictured with Mayor Lilian Seenoi Barr at a Coffee Morning Skydive Fundraising event held in the MenCap NI Derry offices on Bishop. Liam, who is currently on Mencap’s Workable Programme, will skydive from 15,000 feet on 27th July to raise funds for the charity. Photo: George Sweeney

Liam McClintock pictured with Mayor Lilian Seenoi Barr at a Coffee Morning Skydive Fundraising event held in the MenCap NI Derry offices on Bishop. Liam will skydive from 15,000 feet on 27th July to raise funds for the charity. Include in the photograph are MenCap’s Amanda Moore, Elaine Mullen, Nigel McAllister, Eoin Vemy, Megan Smith and Ruth Brolly. Photo: George Sweeney

Liam McClintock pictured with Mayor Lilian Seenoi Barr at a Coffee Morning Skydive Fundraising event held in the MenCap NI Derry offices on Bishop. Liam, who is currently on Mencap’s Workable Programme, will skydive from 15,000 feet on 27th July to raise funds for the charity. He has set up a Just Giving page for donations to help with his fundraising efforts. Photo: George Sweeney

Aisling Breen – Libraries NI

Aisling first became aware of the NOW Group after a referral From Disability Action.

Aisling initially received support from a NOW Group Employment Officer based in the County Armagh area who helped Aisling to put together a CV, as well as helping Aisling to identify suitable job opportunities in her area.

Aisling had some previous work experience working in a local fast-food takeaway where she had been responsible for cleaning the takeaway, as well as preparing food and serving customers.

Given her previous experience of cleaning in the fast-food takeaway, Aisling identified a part-time cleaning role for Libraries NI in their Armagh Regional Administration Centre in Armagh City. Aisling applied for the role and was called to attend an interview in Banbridge. Despite having to travel from South Armagh to Banbridge, as well as being nervous in advance of what was Aisling’s first formal job interview, Aisling was successful in her application.

Aisling began working for Libraries NI in April 2023. As this was Aisling’s first paid role in over 2 years, she decided to apply for some ‘in-work’ support through the Workable NI programme, delivered by the NOW Group, to help her settle back into working life.

After only 6 months in post, Aisling was given the opportunity to cover another part-time position in Armagh City Library following a colleague’s ongoing illness. This now meant that Aisling was covering a part-time morning shift and a part-time afternoon shift across 2 locations in Armagh City. In addition to this, Aisling was also asked to help out by covering another morning shift on one day per week in her local library in Keady.

After a number of months successfully juggling these multiple commitments across 3 locations in the County Armagh area, Aisling was encouraged to apply for the part-time role at Armagh City Library which had now become available on a permanent basis. Aisling applied for the position in March 2024 and once again was successful in her application.

Despite a number of personal issues which Aisling has had to contend with over the last number of months, Aisling has gone from strength to strength and has really flourished in her various roles with Libraries NI.

Aisling is a hard-working, conscientious worker who is an extremely popular member of staff in all 3 locations where she is working at present.  Her confidence has really increased in recent months. This can be evidenced by her willingness to speak at an Employer’s Event run by the NOW Group in Armagh in April 2024. Despite being a little nervous in advance of the day, Aisling spoke brilliantly and really helped to highlight the various services available from the NOW Group to other employers in the Armagh area. Please see some photos below of Aisling speaking at the event.

Aisling continues to work hard and is very content in her various roles at Libraries NI, where she is looking forward to further developing her career in the coming years.

Small steps, big journey

Linda’s Journey

I was having difficulties in work and was struggling for some time. I knew I needed help if I was to stay in work.

I contacted Access to Work who put me in touch with Workable NI (Action Mental Health) and Robert was appointed as my Employment Support Officer. He was so easy to talk to and if felt good to speak to someone who understood how I felt and to know help and support was available. At last, I could see it would be possible to move forward.

I wasn’t good at asking for help and Robert spoke to management on my behalf. It became apparent that I needed a move to a new working environment. With Robert’s help, some adjustments were put in place while I waited for the move. This was a big relief for me. I felt a weight starting to lift off my shoulders.

Robert continued to support me and when the move did come Robert was there for me again. He reassured me about the move as I was feeling nervous. He came to the new office with me and spoke to the new management. It was soon apparent that I needed some computer skills training for my new role. Again Robert came to the rescue and I was enrolled in a course. I am really enjoying it and everyone has been lovely and very supportive. It is a great environment to study in and I can work at my own pace. This course has been invaluable in my new job role.

If it wasn’t for Workable N.I., there is a great possibility I wouldn’t be in work now, but because of the help and support I have received my confidence has grown, my work skills have much improved and I’m gaining a qualification in computer skills.

I just want to say a massive thank you to Robert, Workable NI (Action Mental Health) and the lovely people there. Long may you continue helping and supporting people who need it. I would highly recommend your services to anyone.

Workable Support Improves Mood!

 Dorothy (AMH) has been an excellent Employment Support Officer over the two years she has been with me. Her patience with my lack of time management was admirable. She always strove to provide the best support and found the right services I needed, i.e. CBT, other therapy and autism assessment referral. Without her help, I would not have been able to stay in my job. Her dealings with my manager were professional and she always ensured that I felt comfortable when sharing my mental health problems. Her manner put me at ease, as I never felt judged when sharing my problems or was simply venting frustrations about my current work situation. After each visit to my place of work, my colleagues noticed an improvement in my mood. We used to say in the office that everyone needs a Dorothy in their lives.

Sissy Borchert

A Grateful Employee!

My story with Workable and Eimear (AMH) started with a return to work after prolonged period of sick leave.  I was very anxious returning and was questioning whether it was the best thing for me to do.  Eimear managed to turn this around.  She has been an amazing source of support over the last couple of years.  She provided a listening ear and good advice when problems came along.  She arranged a referral to Susan at the Condition Management Programme who gave me practical advice to cope with my condition.  Once that came to end, Eimear’s gentle encouragement helped me to keep going with their advice and make real changes to my life.  She helped me to attend courses at the Recovery College, another source of great advice. Eimear gave me the motivation and confidence to confront the issues that were holding me back and begin to sort them out for myself.  I feel very lucky to have had Eimear’s help and I don’t think I could have remained in my job without her.

Emily (NICS)

Meet Sinead!

Sinead is supported by Mencap on the Workable NI Programme in her job as Kitchen Assistant in a local Care Home. Sinead works 4 days per week and has recently taken on extra cooking duties in work and loves cooking and preparing meals for the residents! Well done Sinead!

The Future is Bright for Robert!

When suffering from severe anxiety and deep depression I was approached by HR in my work who then put me touch with Workable NI.

From here, I was able to have fortnightly check-ins with Dorothy in Action Mental Health and CBT sessions.  By doing this, it gave me someone to speak to and open up about ongoing issues that I was experiencing. The CBT changed my approach and outlook to situations; it has also gave me many tools to use on a day-to-day basis.

My overall experience is that without Workable NI I do not think that I would have had the professional support needed to get me through what I was experiencing; it has given me a much brighter and positive outlook on my future.

Thank you for all your help and support over this past number of years, I am truly grateful.

Many thanks

Robert Ballard

Setter in Manufacturing Company

Declan Is An Amazing Worker!

Declan is supported by Mencap on the Workable NI programme and works as a colleague in KFC. He has been working here for over 2 years. Declan says, “I love working and being part of a team…Mencap has been an amazing experience through the journey of getting a job, and I wouldn’t be here without their help.”

Declan is an amazing worker and his colleagues think so highly of him, with a previous manager saying he is one of the best around. Declan has been doing so well in his job and is due to progress from the programme soon, when he will continue with work unsupported. The whole of the Mencap team are so proud of Declan and how far he has come!

John’s Workable N.I. Experience

I suffered a number of panic attacks in November 2021.  I felt unable to attend my work, although I was able (at my own suggestion) to continue to work from home.  I made attempts to return to work, one time a week after the initial panic attacks, then after the Christmas holidays, but on both occasions was unable to do so.  While there was no pressure from my employer (a school) to return, I felt it would be necessary to do so at some point.  However, it became clear that this was not something I was going to be able to manage on my own.  Initially I tried counselling, but this wasn’t suitable.  It was clear that the issues I had related to the return to work, and weren’t ‘deep’ enough for counselling to be effective.

At this point, the school bursar suggested contacting the Cedar Foundation, as that organisation had been used by the school for other employees in the past.  It was in this way that I was put in touch with Supported Employment Solutions, and in turn my Employment Support Officer from Action Mental Health.

Dealing with Supported Employment Solutions was both professional and pleasant.  The relationship I had with my Employment Support Officer was as much based on developing a personal side as it was putting in place a programme of professional assistance, and I couldn’t have been happier with both of these aspects.  That programme was delivered thoroughly and straightforwardly, perfectly matching my requirements. I recognise that the issue I had was not complex, but it needed to be solved.  Supported Employment Solutions put me on a straight path to solving it.  I have returned to work, and have come back fully engaged and (hopefully!) contributing effectively to the workplace.

Iain’s Employment Journey With NOW Group

Iain has been a part of the NOW Group since 2018. Since then, he has gained a full time job role with Hendersons Mallusk. With the support of Employment Officer Megan McCleave and NOW Group’s SES Workable N.I. Programme, he has achieved full training in using the Fork Lifts and Reach Trucks as part of their Warehouse Operatives team.

Iain is heavily involved in most of NOW Group’s other services and training courses. Through these services he has completed his Driving Theory practise, as well as becoming one of the new Ambassadors for external events for NOW Group to help promote our services.

Iain is also one of the members of our NOW Football team and has competed in the George Best Cup. Iain is very well known to all NOW Group staff and has achieved great success in the last 18 months since gaining full time employment which has allowed him to commence driving lessons which he hopes to pass in 2023.

Iain is very hard working and has shown his commitment to helping others within NOW Group. He is always willing to go above and beyond for his colleagues and to help other participants when he is in the Hive. Congratulations on your achievements Ian!

Learn more on how NOW Group can support you into employment –