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Warwick academic helps launch new Mencap NI support programme for families and children with a learning disability

Professor Hastings at the launchProfessor Richard Hastings of the University of Warwick’s Centre for Educational Development Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) was one of the keynote speakers at today’s launch of Mencap NI’s new Family Support Programme, designed to help families and improve outcomes for young children with a learning disability across Northern Ireland.

The Creating Brighter Futures Seminar was held at the Long Gallery, Stormont, and was attended by 120 civil servants, health and education professionals and learning disability organisations.

Other speakers included Koulla Yiasouma, NI Children’s Commissioner and Dr Nick Gore of the University of Kent’s Tizard Centre. Both CEDAR and the Tizard centre work in partnership with Mencap NI to develop evidence based early intervention programmes.

The Mencap NI family support service will provide support programmes to help parents from the birth of their child until the age of seven, providing support programmes, peer support and training to help their child’s development and improve their outcomes in life.

Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap NI said: “Every young child with a learning disability should have access to early intervention services that support their development from birth. Families of children with a learning disability need access to family support services in every Health and Social Care Trust. We are launching a programme of support that wants to ensure every child has the best possible start in life. “

Professor Hastings added: “Families that need the most help and support to ensure their children reach their full potential often don’t receive that help and have to fight every step of the way. I am delighted that the Tizard Centre and CEDAR are working together with Mencap NI to develop an effective programme that can make a difference.”

18 January 2018


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager, Social Science

University of Warwick

02476 150423

Brian Kennedy

Communications Manager, Northern Ireland


028 9069 0163

Download the Creating Brighter Futures report HERE.