Supporting vulnerable families – learning from practice

Supporting children to deal with a HIV positive diagnosis in their family, experiencing domestic violence and having a physical or intellectual disability – these are just three examples of adversities faced by families in Northern Ireland. CES is supporting the implementation and evaluation of thirty six projects in Northern Ireland all of which work with vulnerable families. The Reaching Out, Supporting Families Programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and projects are being implemented by community and voluntary organisations across Northern Ireland.

We spoke to some of the organisations about their Reaching Out, Supporting Families Projects, and what they were learning from practice.

Melanie Stone from CES explains CES’s role on the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Out Supporting Families Programme.


Rosaleen Dempsey, chair of the Reaching Out Supporting Families programme speaks about her work with the Royal National Institute for the Blind, where she manages the Children, Young People and Families' Service, supporting people with sight loss.

Gavin Armstrong from Positive Life Northern Ireland discusses the Positive Family life project and his work with people who have been diagnosed with HIV.

Louise O'Kane talks about the work of Women's Aid Northern Ireland, an organisation that provides domestic violence services for women and children.

Jenny Potter talks about Now Group, a social enterprise that supports people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs in Northern Ireland.