Irish Wheelchair Association celebrates fiftieth anniversary

An organisation committed to improving the lives of people with physical disabilities will celebrate its 50th anniversary later this month.

The Irish Wheelchair Association, which was founded in 1960 by a small group of wheelchair users, will begin its celebrations on Friday February 19. Today, the organisation has grown into a vibrant network of 20,000 members and more than 2,000 staff as well as many dedicated volunteers.

It has 2,500 members in Galway and provides 150,000 hours of services here. It has an resource and outreach centre based at Merlin Park. Local people with disabilities can avail of a broad range of activities including social, educational and community.

The IWA birthday parties will be held in 50 locations throughout the country. The association is inviting members, volunteers or fundraisers who have supported the organisation over the years to attend the events. Members of the local community who turn 50 in 2010 are also invited to join the IWA in celebrating its 50th birthday.

“One of our major services is the assisted living service,” explains a spokesperson for the IWA. “The goal of this service is to promote choice, independence and quality of life for people by providing a tailored personal assistant service centred around each individual’s needs in their own home and community.

“Living independently is of vital importance to all of us. The Irish Wheelchair Association empowers people with disability to live independent lives and we support people in getting started by availing of our independent living programme. We currently have 12 independent living apartments in Galway city. Many people avail of our driving instruction and advice in relation to car adaptations.”

Young people with disabilities have established their own club called SPIRIT which is supported by the association. They arrange a variety of social gatherings locally.

Speaking about the occasion, IWA CEO Kathleen McLoughlin commented:

“IWA has centres in 68 communities throughout the country. Many people may not have had the opportunity to visit their local IWA centre in the past and find out more about what IWA does to support people with disabilities.

For further information on events taking place locally contact Anne Connolly, Galway Resource and Outreach Centre at (091 ) 771552.


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