Business supporting Irish Wheelchair Association service

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A LOCAL charity for people with disabilities, which has been delivering activity packs to and staying in contact with service users via their new outreach service, wants to extend their thanks to a number of local businesses who have donated to them.

Staff from the Lucan-based Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), which supports people with physical and sensory disabilities, have been out on the road five days a week since lockdown began, delivering activity packs to services users in Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan and Ballyfermot.

Pat delivering a Gourmet Cheese Pack to Rita compressor

Pat delivering a Gourmet Cheese Pack to Rita

On a weekly basis, the staff deliver 60 packs containing things like boardgames, crosswords, and mosaics, and they keep connected with their service users through their outreach service, where they keep in regular contact either by phone or socially distanced chats in their gardens.

The service users also received a surprise with their packs last week, as the Redcow-based Traditional Cheese Company donated packs of cheese, crackers and relish for all of the service users – this is just one example of one of the many instances of local businesses supporting the IWA during this time.

“It makes a massive difference,” explained Ciaran McLoughlin, the service manager of the IWA. “We can’t get over the generosity of the local businesses.

“Just to get something like the cheese pack, the service users really appreciate it.”

Janet Healy, the IWA’s service support officer, added: “They were ecstatic about the cheese packs, it was just the joy of getting something completely different.

Ray delighted with the Gift Pack coffee and a chat compressor

Ray delighted with the Gift Pack, coffee and a chat

“They were delighted, and it meant so much to them.”

Other local businesses, including SuperValu in Lucan, Musgraves in Ballymount, Dealz and Homebase in Fonthill, and Tesco, Mick’s Fruit and Veg, and Adrian Dunne Pharmacy, all in the Hillcrest Shopping Centre, have also generously donated to the IWA in recent weeks.

“We just want to say thank you so much to the businesses who have donated,” said Mr McLoughlin. “We’re a charity, and right now our funding is down massively, but we want to recognise those people who have donated to us – I don’t think they realise the difference it makes.

“We just want to say thank you to the local community, we wouldn’t be able to do this without them.”

Davids Birthday with Jess and Pearl compressor

David's Birthday with Jess and Pearl

The IWA is trying to keep the spirits of their service users up through the duration of the lockdown, and they even have a dedicated ‘party bus’ that they use to go to the houses of service users who are celebrating their birthdays, where the staff sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and bring a cake and candles.

The donations from local businesses are also having a positive impact on service users during lockdown, according to Ms Healy, who said: “The phone calls that we are receiving from service users – full of gratitude, happiness and surprise at receiving these gifts – leave me speechless.”

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