Growing demand for services for children with disabilities is putting increased pressure on a Galway organisation which provides this support.
More than 600 children are accessing Enable Ireland’s service in the city and county, according to Clare Lenehan, the director of services at the centre.
She said the non profit organisation is dealing with a rise in demand for services at a time when annual budgets are being cut.
Speaking at the official opening of its multi sensory garden which is located at the back of its facility on the grounds of UHG, she said due to funding cuts Enable Ireland must prioritise how its money is being spent each year.
“Unfortunately the garden wasn’t one of those priorities. However, through community fundraising sources, such as the SAP Ireland Fund, we have been able to develop something very worthwhile through this garden, that may not have come about for years to come. It has now provided our children with a space to be included, have independence and most importantly the right to play in line with national policy.”
She thanked the businesses, volunteer groups and people who supported the venture. She paid a special tribute to David Donnelly from Cara Landscapes who volunteered his time to design and oversee the development as well as the East Side Men’s Shed Group and the Renmore Boy Scouts for their “endless hours of labouring”.
Thanks to a €3,000 grant from multinational company SAP through its SAP Ireland Fund, the project was kick-started over the summer. A once inaccessible, bleak space was transformed within months into a beautiful accessible garden which touches on the five senses of smell, sight, taste, touch and sound.
The garden will serve children with multiple disabilities from the city and county who attend the Enable Ireland Centre. It is hoped that the space will provide a stimulating journey through the senses, heightening awareness and bringing positive learning experiences.
Sharon Meehan, community fundraising manager and project lead, told the launch that the garden would not have been possible without volunteers and the support of many garden suppliers in the city and surrounds.
“Over 30 volunteers took part in the development who clocked up a total of 400 hours combined along with 20 businesses that sponsored plants, trees, topsoil, skips and much more. It is clear to see that the age of generosity is alive and well in Galway and this garden is testament to that.”
Galway City Mayor Donal Lyons commended Enable Ireland for the great work it does before cutting the ribbon declaring the facility officially open.