Making a difference in Portadown through Work IT

Making a difference in Portadown through Work IT

The Work IT Programme has proven to be successful for Edgarstown Residents Association (ERA) based in Portadown.

Before taking part in Work IT the ERA centre operated only on a part time basis.  It is now a fully staffed community hub which has gone from strength to strength.

One of our Work IT participants Phyllis successfully runs the centre on a day to day basis. Her time is spent making funding applications and communicating with service users.  She has implemented the SMILE programme which consists of befriending and supporting the elderly, runs an afterschool’s club as well as implementing initiatives such as ‘Games on the Green’ for school children during the summer holidays.

Edgarstown have secured funding from Northern Ireland Housing Executive for Phyllis to stay in post when her participation on our Work IT programme ends.   During her time on the Work IT programme Phyllis has proven there is a need for a community hub in the Edgarstown area.

Barry (also a Work IT participant) co-ordinates a street team; a group of volunteers who ensure that the residential areas and streets are kept clean, and free from litter and weeds. Not only has Barry acquired these care taking and maintenance skills which make him more employable but he has been on a personal journey. Having been long term unemployed Barry has proven to have a remarkable work ethic, a caring personality and someone who takes great pride in his work and community.

Work IT staff have worked in partnership with ERA to develop successful community projects. The residents of Edgarstown have enjoyed community fun days and most recently Emergency First Aid training for children under 11 years of age.

Phyllis and Barry have proven to be Community Champions who through their Work IT placements have encouraged an environment where everyone can come together to celebrate an inherent sense of community.

Nigel Duke of ERA has commented on the Work IT programme

“Over the past 12 months Edgarstown Residents Association has gone from strength to strength, this is in no small part due to the influence and impact of the Work IT programme who through their wonderful team of staff have helped, supported and enabled our members to take on roles and responsibilities that they would not have been otherwise able to do.”

To submit a Community Project idea for consideration or for clarification on eligibility criteria please contact Laura McGahan, Work IT Community Projects Officer, on 074 6795 8177 or


The Southern  Zone ‘Work IT’ project is funded by the Northern Ireland Executive Social Investment Fund (SIF) Programme which aims to make life better for people living in deprived areas by reducing poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration.


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