Walk in Menlo and raise funds for Ability West

The Kelly family, organisers of the annual walk.

The Kelly family, organisers of the annual walk.

An annual fundraiser, which has raised almost €80,000 for a Galway organisation which provides services and supports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and autism, will take place next month in Menlo.

The five mile Menlo Walk in aid of Ability West, which is open to everyone, will take place at noon on Sunday February 10 from Scoil Bhríde in Menlo.

This popular event, which celebrates its 12th year, is organised by the Kelly family whose youngest child, Andrew, has autism. He transferred to the adult services of Ability West when he reached 18. He avails of a day service from New Directions as well as a respite service. These support are vital to him and his family.

His father, Ray Kelly, who is the chairperson of the Board of Ability West, says his son’s move to adult services was very successful.

“The transition for Andrew has been seamless from child to adult service with Ability West. He is very happy in himself and it was definitely down to forward planning and an eased move from services that has Andrew in such a good happy, relaxed place.”

His mother, Brega Kelly says the fundraising walk is an important event for the family. “But it also is all about community - the Menlo community, our friends and friends of friends who come each year and support us, and Ability West. We are so delighted to have raised close to €80,000. There is tea, coffee, and loads of cakes, and bakes afterwards, so even if walking isn’t your thing, you can reward yourself with a slice of cake for your effort if nothing else.”

The proceeds from the walk will go towards Ability West’s ongoing capital programme which includes new builds, extensions, and refurbishments of existing buildings, the purchase of essential aids, appliances, specialised equipment, and minibuses.

Ability West is a voluntary, not for profit organisation which provides services and supports to more than 580 children and adults with an intellectual disability and autism in 13 locations, including Galway city and county.

Its services comprise day, residential, respite, and rehabilitative training and employment, active ageing, community, and multidisciplinary supports. These include speech and language therapy, psychology, behaviour support, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and social work. Ability West is the patron of four special schools in Ballinasloe, Carraroe, Galway city, and Tuam.

A walking fee of €10 per person or €25 per family applies to the Menlo Walk and is payable on the day. For more information telephone Ray at (087 ) 7694153 or Brega at (087 ) 6179886. Donations can also be made online by logging on to www.abilitywest.ie

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