IWA Celebrates Opening of New Community Facility in Laois

IWA Celebrates Opening of New Community Facility in Laois

Thursday, 05 May 2016

On Thursday, 5th May 2016, Cathaoirleach, Catherine Fitzgerald joined CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Kathleen McLoughlin to officially open a new modern, spacious and welcoming community facility which will provide a range of essential services and supports to people with disabilities living in Laois. The event brought together local people, businesses and community organisations as well as members, friends and supporters of IWA who celebrated the opening of the new Resource and Outreach Centre, which has been the culmination of over three years of discussion, planning and building.

Alvernia House which is located on St Fintan's Campus, Dublin Road, Portlaoise will deliver essential services including educational and training programmes, social and recreational opportunities, and a dedicated information and advice service. Comprising a large multi-functional room, community meeting rooms, therapy rooms, kitchen and dining area, the new Resource and Outreach Centre will benefit over 50 existing IWA members while also catering for the growth of essential services in the area.

During the official ribbon cutting ceremony, Kathleen McLoughlin, CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association explained:

Initially borne out of a need to address the isolation experienced by people with a physical disability and to advocate for integration into their local communities, IWA has provided a range of essential services, supports and programmes to people with disabilities living in Laois since 1998.

Members of Irish Wheelchair Association have identified that 'quality of life' means opportunities to socialise, laugh, learn, work, travel, enjoy their homes and be active in their community. Alvernia House has created an environment which enables individuals to achieve their goals and reach their maximum potential.

Through community spirit, and the partnerships formed by local people, statutory and voluntary agencies, neighbouring businesses and organisations, IWA Laois now has a modern, top class facility which is a credit to all involved, and will serve the community well for many years to come.

Already a hive of activity, the Resource and Outreach Centres has 15 staff working alongside members and volunteers on a daily basis, three accessible buses on the road seven days a week and over 50 members participating in programmes and initiatives during the day, evenings and weekends which enable them to lead independent, active and fulfilling lives.

Speaking at the event, Cathaoirleach Catherine Fitzgerald said:

Alvernia House will open up new opportunities for the people of Laois and provide high quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families thus enhancing and improving their quality of life.

Today is a very special day for Irish Wheelchair Association and in particular its Laois members, staff and volunteers. Laois County Council wishes to acknowledge and recognise this project as a very positive innovation in the development of services for people with physical disabilities in Laois and congratulate all those involved

The opening of Alvernia House also presents an opportunity for existing groups and clubs and it is hoped the centre will play a positive part in the development of the wider community. For additional information about the range of services and supports provided to people with disabilities living in Laois please contact Alvernia House 057 869 4030, email laois@iwa.ie or visit www.iwa.ie

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