Community Focus: Making travel possible!

By Hayden Moore

A LOCAL Disability Action Group has worked all around the county providing accessible transport to people who are mobility impaired for 20 years now and has 1,000 active members.

The charity, Lucan Disability Action Group (LDAG), is a community service programme that is totally dependent on fundraising and grant funding to provide wheelchair-accessible transport seven days a week.

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John with bus driver Nigel at the disability action group in ACE Enterprise in Bawnogue (Image: Paddy Barrett)

Although they are a Lucan charity by name and based in ACE Enterprise in Bawnogue, its members are located all around Dublin, Kildare and Meath.

Every single day, Monday to Sunday, a fleet of 10 vehicles provide essential transport to 25 families from 7am to 11pm – whether it be bringing members to respite, education or work and home thereafter.

But they do not stop at that as, in addition, they provide around 60 ad hoc journeys a day for members – bringing them to things such as social events and hospital visits.

LDAG has been managed by Caroline Brady over the past couple of years, after she returned home from working in the business industry in the United Kingdom.

“My background is in business, I’ve been going to the UK since the 90s and I decided when I came home two years ago that I wanted to use the skills I had developed in my own community,” said Ms Brady.

“It’s nice to get up every single morning knowing that what you’re doing is actually benefitting people.

“A huge barrier for people with wheelchairs is transport. You could say that Dublin Bus has a wheelchair space but it is not a dedicated space on a dedicated bus.

“It’s not always easy for people in bad weather to get to a bus stop in a wheelchair. This is actually a door-to-door service.

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Bus driver Nigel from the Lucan Disability Action Group

“It is important to note though that we’re not a Lucan charity, it is a charity by Lucan people helping and enabling people, who may have issues with mobility, all around the county and in North Kildare and Meath.”

The charity was set-up by seven members of the Lucan Community 20 years ago after Joe T Mooney, who himself had Muscular Dystrophy, recognised the need for support services for people living with a disability in the surrounding areas.

As they had completed little fundraising at the time and only possessed a single minibus, LDAG were beneficiaries of the kindness of Lucan Lions Club who paid their first insurance bill.

Since then, they have steadily grown to a fleet of over 10 minibuses thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Lucan community, including some of the transition-year students in local schools.

“We need to be fundraising every single year,” Caroline added.

“We did look at if there is a capacity to expand our fleet, but I am conscious that we have 10 aging vehicles on the road – so we need to be fundraising to replace our oldest vehicle every year.

“I think we need to be getting into the routine of thinking how else can we help in the community and what that might look like.”

They have also added a loan car, which accommodates one wheelchair and three/four seated passengers and enables families to take their loved ones away on holiday, to events or for fun.

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