Ailbhe's Story

Blossomed over the years

We first met Ailbhe at Blossom Discovery camp in 2016. She was a shy quiet girl who only gave us glimpses of her personality and sense of humour. As Ailbhe progressed to our weekly programme for teenagers Blossom Buddies (now Blossom Explore) she became more confident and independent and that’s when we really got to know her and to benefit from her fantastic sense of humour!

Ailbhe’s mother, Eithne, recently wrote that: “Ailbhe absolutely loves the interaction with her peers and all the staff of Blossom Ireland. They go on numerous trips with a view to teaching them all independence regarding safety, eating out, spending money and using public transport.”

“She has gained so much confidence and independence from the Programme. They have organised such fantastic Workplace Tours and given her an opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in different environments (a restaurant, an art gallery and a bank, to name but a few). This is something that is not available to her at the present time in any other organisation she is involved with.

Ailbhe is 18 now and will join Blossom Connect where she will receive individualised support from our Transition Planning Coordinator to plan for life after school.

Watch this video to find out more about Ailbhe
Ailbhe
  • "Ailbhe absolutely loves the interaction with her peers and all the staff of Blossom Ireland. She has gained so much confidence and independence from the Programme."

Conor's Story

Our first graduate now a staff member

Conor was one of the first young people to reach 18 and graduate from the Blossom Gateway Programme in 2017 having attended Blossom Ireland services since he was 10.

When Conor was 17, he told the team at Blossom Ireland that he wanted a job at a Blossom Discovery camp. The team took him seriously and Conor volunteered as a support staff member for two summers. Thanks to this experience coupled with Conor’s own ambition and abilities he has since been employed as a Peer Mentor for Blossom Explore and Blossom Gateway. As a programme graduate Conor brings a different perspective to the rest of the staff. His first-hand experience of some of the challenges young people with intellectual disabilities can face when developing their independence skills is invaluable and is a huge support to the programme participants.

Conor’s dad told us: “Conor’s confidence level has soared since he started as a Peer Mentor and he just loves putting on his uniform and heading off to work at Blossom on Saturday mornings. The support of all the Blossom team was critical here - as they allocated key tasks for Conor and taught him the difference between a Blossom buddy and being a member of staff. He has now learned numerous skills and disciplines.”

Thanks to this experience and newly acquired skills, Conor also secured part-time employment in Supervalu in Sutton and was recently made permanent.

Connor
  • “Conor’s confidence level has soared since he started as a Peer Mentor and he just loves putting up his uniform and heading off to work at Blossom on Saturday mornings.”

Amy's Story

One of our youngest participants

Amy is a bubbly, energetic and sociable young girl who has been attending Blossom Ireland Discovery camps and yoga classes since she was 9. Amy started Blossom Explore once she turned 14 in spring 2019. She has now completed her first term and although she was nervous at the beginning she settled in very quickly and is now a really active participant in the group each week.

After her first session with Blossom Explore, Amy’s Dad, Richie told us that “Amy came home and was telling her Mum and brothers that she went to the shops with her friends. She was very relaxed and happy coming out, which is great to see.”

Amy will continue to attend Blossom Explore next year where she will be taught valuable life skills such as using public transport, eating out and road safety in a fun and safe environment. The over-arching aim of the programme is to increase confidence and independence while out in the community.

Amy
  • "Amy came home and was telling her Mum and brothers that she went to the shops with her friends. She was very relaxed and happy coming out, which is great to see."
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