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Community Access Service

The role of the Community Access Team

To facilitate children and young people with a disability to enable them to access opportunities for social, leisure and personal development either with their peers or individually in the local community as it is recognised that some children will prefer more solitary community based activities. The team aims to engage in a time limited manner to develop and maintain links with local community organisations who can offer ongoing support for young people with a disability e.g. youth workers, volunteers, groups. The team also aims to promote and develop new services within the community. This includes the provision of Summer schemes and the Supported Transition Entry Programme (STEP)

Request for a Service

Referrals are accepted from social workers based in the three Children’s Disability Teams within the SHSCT. Prior to a referral being made there should be a discussion between the social worker and community access staff to initially screen the referral with consideration given to the availability of other social outlets for the young person.

Age Range

12 – 17 years

Appropriate Referrals

Young people referred to the team should be capable of and willing to actively engage safely within the programme, service or activity provided by community services. Priority should be given to those children who are socially isolated and are not receiving other services with a social inclusion element, in addition to those on the child protection register or subject to a court order or proceedings. Where it is deemed that a high level of risk exists these referrals are not appropriate as the child should be able to engage safely within the activity.

Action following acceptance of referral

On receipt of a new referral an acknowledgement letter will be sent within 10 days to the parent or carer to inform them that they have been placed on a waiting list and the community access officer will be contacting them as soon as possible to arrange an initial home visit.

An assessment will be undertaken to identify the young person’s wants, their interests and hobbies in an attempt to match them to a service that will best meet their needs.

The team will provide advice and support to community organisations in addition to introducing, facilitating and monitoring the young person at the community option.

Monitoring and review will continue until the young person has settled and can attend on their own or access services organised and monitored by their carers.

Regular reviews will take place to ensure the young person’s needs are being met with community access which may include case closure as the service is designed to be time limited and to promote empowerment, independence and inclusion. This will not affect the young person’s continued attendance/engagement with the community activity.

Community access service

‘I loved the arts and crafts’  ‘I loved ActiSport’  ‘Really enjoyed the drumming and cooking’  ‘loved dancing and singing’  ‘loved the trampoling and making new friends’ ‘really looked forward to the STEP every Monday and making new friends from different schools ‘enjoyed all of the activities especially the drumming and making new friends’  ‘Good to talk about my emotions, it’s an amazing club and I had lots of friends’

Young people

Thank you

Just to say thank you to you and the other staff for a lovely morning on Monday.
It was wonderful seeing how confident all the students were.  I know J loved his Monday mornings


Amazing and supporting

Excellent all over, staff very welcoming and friendly, children loved the programme thank you so much really enjoyed it.

Overall friendships that have developed throughout the programme have been lovely to watch.

The Trust staff have been amazing in supporting our young people thank you so much we will miss you all on a Monday.

Classroom assistant

More independent

The young people have become more independent, it’s great to see them socialising with all school groups.
It’s great to see the young person not relying on the security of their own staff, a great programme with a variety of activities and talks, thank you.


Newry and Mourne

Tracy MacFarlane , Transition Planning Co Ordinator

Call us07503018999

Newry and Mourne

Ciara Turley, Community Access Officer

Call us07833481569

Newry and Mourne

Mary O’Hanlon, Community Access Support Worker

Email us028 3083 5430

Craigavon and Banbridge

Karen Edgar; Transition Planning Co Ordinator

Call us028 3834 8248

Craigavon and Banbridge

David Alderdice, Community Access Officer

Call us028 3834 8248

Craigavon and Banbridge

Renata Kotula, Community Access Support Worker

Call us028 3834 8248

Armagh and Dungannon

Gerald Donnelly, Transition Planning Co Ordinator

Call us07824134626

Armagh and Dungannon

Andrea Mc Clenaghan, Community Access Officer

Call us028 375 64491
Email usandrea.mcclenaghan@southerntrust.hscni

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