Yesterday, Thursday, nearly 300 volunteers from Fidelity Investments Ireland travelled to Athlone to transform a dilapidated wasteland into a beautiful and tranquil space for use by members of the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA ) and the local community.
In just one day, the group, working alongside community volunteers and IWA members, created an accessible exercise path, raised wheelchair accessible vegetable plots and flower beds, seating areas, bird and window boxes, and a play area at the Clonbrusk Resource Centre in Athlone.
The space will be used by the IWA and other organisations based in the centre including the National Council of the Blind Ireland (NCBI ), Multiple Sclerosis Ireland (MS ), Health Service Executive (HSE ), and the crèche.
One of the most popular programmes offered by IWA from the Clonbrusk centre is a weekly horticulture and gardening class facilitated by the VEC.
Speaking about the community garden project, CEO of IWA Kathleen McLoughlin explained, “With the support of Westmeath County Council we were able to access this piece of ground with a dream to create a beautiful space where people with disabilities could enjoy building and maintaining their own sensory garden.
“We feared it would take us a number of years to raise the necessary funds, but thanks to the generosity and support of Fidelity Investments Ireland, IWA can now successfully complete the community garden project over one day. The community and sensory garden can also be utilised by the physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and other healthcare professionals based in the centre.”
Maura Morgan, general manager, HSE added: “Our clients will benefit from this welcome initiative which will bring hours of pleasure in the outdoors to the local community including people with disabilities in Athlone.”