Charlie Bird hosts IWA AGM
20th May 2013; Sligo: People with physical disabilities and their families joined community and voluntary organisations, public sector representatives and not-for-profit agencies to listen to nationally recognised speakers and policy makers at Irish Wheelchair Association’s Annual Conference which took place on Saturday, 18th May 2013.
The conference was chaired by Broadcaster, Journalist and Television Documentary Presenter, Charlie Bird. Presentations from national experts including John Lonergan, Former Governor of Mountjoy Prison and Liam O’Sullivan, Director of Care Alliance Ireland addressed the areas of civil society, social protection, community organisations and their current position, and the relationship between the state and the community and voluntary sector.
Deeply embedded in local communities and with a presence in every county in Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association has a strong reputation as one of the leading service providers and representative organisations in the sector. The conference also featured the launch of Irish Wheelchair Association’s Strategic Plan: Driving on - Determining our Future: A Strategy for People 2013 – 2016. CEO, Kathleen McLoughlin introduced the strategy to delegates emphasising:
‘IWA is one of a number of not-for-profit organisations that work to build a more inclusive society. We have been successful at this because we keep the person at the centre of the process in all that we do. We have also been successful because we listen and respond in a timely manner to our member’s needs.
This has been most evident in the development of our 2013- 2016 strategic plan. The involvement of members at every stage of the planning is a clear testament to the ethos of the Association. IWA’s new strategy Driving On- Determining our Future again sets out a person-centred approach to how the Association will move forward in the coming years and address the issues that have the biggest impact on our members’ lives and ensure that they can remain in control of their lives and shape their own futures’.
The strategic plan has been developed at a time of unprecedented pressure on resources, and against a backdrop of financial uncertainty for the entire economy. Despite this situation, the Association is determined to continue to plan effectively for the future and to ensure that what has been achieved to-date is built upon and improved.
Marian Harkin, Independent Member of the European Parliament for North West constituency, also attended the conference dinner and presented the Irish Wheelchair Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award to Mr Tony Hassett, who is from Tipperary and has volunteered with the Association for thirteen years.