On the evening of November 10th, 1960, a small group of people, all wheelchair users, gathered in the Pillar Room of the Mater Hospital. Little over an hour later, Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) was born. From those small beginnings, IWA has grown into a nationwide network of over 20,000 members supported by a dedicated team of over 2,000 staff and another 2,000 volunteers. IWA’s overriding vision today – ‘to achieve full inclusion and integration of people with disabilities as equal and independent members of society’ – is little changed from that of our founding members in 1960, and we remain an organisation that continues to be owned and directed by our members.
IWA has developed a reputation for excellence in governance and quality of service provision. IWA operates in every county in Ireland and we deliver €1 million of diverse services to our members every week and provide over 2 million hours of direct services to adults each year. People will always remain at the centre of everything that we do and we continually strive to maintain the highest of standards.
Since our formation, IWA has been instrumental in bringing about significant cultural, structural and political change, but there is still a long way to go and there is no question that people with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn of recent years. We rely on the generosity of supporters to ensure that we can continue to not only maintain, but to develop the range and quality of the services we provide to our members.
Our dedicated website is an example of our ongoing commitment to transparency and open communications to all our members, customers and funders as well as to the wider public interested in our activities. All necessary information regarding our financial accounts, fundraising initiatives, events, training courses and job opportunities can be found on iwa.ie.
Living independently should mean having the freedom of choice and control to follow your dreams, whatever they may be, and IWA will continue to lobby and advocate with and on behalf of our members, to bring about the positive political and societal changes that can lead to true independence. We ask that all our members and supporters do the same so that we can build a society that allows and encourages people with disabilities to live the lives they choose without facing obstacles at every turn.
Thank you for taking the time to visit IWA’s website and I invite you to take the time to explore iwa.ie, learn more about the range of services the Association provides and to follow us on our social media platforms to learn more about the work we do.