Student Handbook Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Practice Learning Opportunities

Bryson Family Support Services

The Family Support Service is one of Bryson’s core programmes.  It offers a home visiting service that provides practical and emotional support to families who are experiencing difficulties or who are under stress.  Its key aim is to support families during difficult periods in their lives, especially where this will contribute to keeping children at home with their families.  Objectives include working in partnership with parents to promote the well-being of each family as a whole, and enabling families to manage their lives with increased confidence and self-esteem. 

Family Support Workers work in partnership with other caring professionals in encouraging and supporting families to work for change.  They visit families weekly, getting to know family members by spending time working alongside them in the family home.  They seek to respond to the needs of families under stress.  They may provide help with parenting skills and home management.  They offer a listening ear and emotional support.  They attend Child Protection Case Conferences and Reviews for which they provide comprehensive written reports.  The service is located within a range of preventative services available to children in need and families under stress.  (Level 3/4 Hardiker 1993)  There may also be opportunities to work in Bryson Sure Start either in Lisburn or Bangor.  There are also level 3 placements within our Bryson Intensive Family Support Service.

Other Placements

Other PLO’s are provided by associate providers within the voluntary sector these include:

  • Home Care Independent Living, Belfast who work with adults experiencing mental ill health due to a range of different issues, such as substance misuse and alcohol abuse which may result in homelessness.  Home Care works to support people to remain in their accommodation, and also support them to manage their lives as best as possible. This work involves field work. 
  • Lisburn Women’s Aid, Mid-Ulster Women’s Aid as below this PLO setting involves working directly with women and children who are survivors of Domestic Violence.
  • MindWise, a mental health charity that supports adults with severe and enduring mental health to manage day to day living through attendance at their resource centre.  This PLO is set in a day resource centre in the middle of Belfast.  

However every year these are refreshed with new PLOs being facilitated in partnership with Bryson these can include for example Alzheimer’s Society & Sure Start Lisburn and Bangor.  We are always working towards involving other providers in the voluntary sector to provide placements and indeed have been approached by a number who are interested in doing so, understanding that a social work student can bring much to a placement setting.    

North West

There are a range of diverse PLO’s offered in the North West including:

  • Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC).  This PLO involves working with care experienced children and young people from 10-21 years old.  This PLO involves working with children and young people who are in foster care, Kinship care, Residential care or leaving acre.
  • Include Youth.  This PLO involves working with young people aged 16-24 years old who are care experienced or NEET.
  • The Simon Community.  This PLO involves working with adults who are predominately homeless but who may also have addiction and mental health issues.  Within this PLO setting there is a lot of direct work with Probation services.
  • Women’s Aid (Fermanagh, Omagh and Mid-Ulster Women’s Aid).  This PLO setting involves working directly with women and children who are survivors of Domestic Violence.  This PLO setting involves both residential and community based work.
  • First Housing Aid and Support Services.  This PLO setting involves working across a range of projects such as the Mental Health Resettlement Team, #workitoutproject and a range of supported living accommodation for young people from 16-21 years old.  Within this PLO, students gain experience working directly with service users who have ongoing mental health issues homelessness, care leavers, addiction issues and young parents.
  • Action for Children.  This PLO setting involves working to help and support children and their families work together at an early stage to explore solutions and prevent more long term problems from arising.    This project works with children of all ages and their families, including young people at risk of homelessness.

Relevant websites:

Key Contact

Siobhán Wylie (PLC Belfast)

(028) 9032 5835
Practice Learning Centre Manager
2 Rivers Edge
13-15 Ravenhill Road Belfast BT6 8DN

Caoimhe Harkin-MacDermott (PLC L/Derry)

Tel: (028) 7132 1987
Mob: 07803 833382
Practice Learning Centre Manager
Practice Block 1, First Floor
Glendermott Valley Business Park
Tullyally Road, Drumahoe
Derry-Londonderry BT47 3QR
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