You can STRIDE Into Work with USEL

The STRIDE Project, which supported 75 people with disabilities to find employment during the pandemic, is launching a series of free events in May aimed at getting more people into work.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 10:30 am

Social enterprise Usel (Ulster Supported Employment Limited), with a base at Woodside Road in Ballymena, is holding two weeks of online activities including taster sessions and mental health and wellbeing support aimed at people with disabilities or health related conditions who wish to upskill or get support so that they can seek employment.

‘STRIDE Into Work’ will offer two week-long sets of activities and workshops starting on May 10 and 17 led by Usel’s experienced STRIDE team.

The STRIDE project, which is free for all participants, works with people with disabilities or health conditions who are unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week. The project is also accessible to those on furlough currently.

Joe McDonnell, Usel’s Employment Support Officer based in Ballymena, is encouraging local people to find out more about the taster sessions in May

Mary McCann who manages the STRIDE (Support and Training to Realise Individual Development and Employment) project which is part funded through the NI European Social Fund Programme 2014–2020 and the Department for the Economy, said that many of the people referred to the STRIDE project found life during the pandemic very difficult and stressful.

“Many of the people we worked with had to isolate and found it difficult to engage online or didn’t want to think of work at first. But as lockdown progressed, people re-assessed their lives and wanted to get back into employment and wanted support to do that,” she said.

The company has offices in Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Ballymena and Portadown but with everything moving online, they found they could reach even more people who would find it difficult attending face to face meetings.

Mary said: “Location is no longer a barrier and the number of people we can support has increased. This has been one of our most challenging years but also our most important year as an organisation. The people we support have massively improved their online and IT skills and this will be a huge benefit to them both personally and when they are seeking work.”

To find out more about the taster sessions in May, go to