Marian Harkin officially opens community facility
Marian Harkin, MEP for Ireland's North and West Constituency, will officially open a state of the art, community facility which provides a range of services to people with physical and sensory disabilities living in the Erris region, Co. Mayo.
The Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Resource and Outreach Centre located in Logmore, Belmullet has opened up a range of new opportunities for approximately 90 people with physical and sensory disabilities, and is the culmination of over ten years of fortitude and vision which brought together local people, statutory and voluntary agencies, neighbouring businesses and organisations.
IWA is the only representative organisation providing vital services to people with disabilities in the region. A six acre site was donated from the Mercy Order in 1998 and this was the start of a dream for a new purpose built centre from which a range of high quality services could be provided to people with disabilities living right across the Barony of Erris.
For over ten years an inspirational team comprising of IWA members, staff and volunteers set to work applying for and securing funding, fundraising, and forming partnerships with individuals and local organisations who recognised the life changing and profound impact a facility of this kind could have on the lives of people with disabilities.
Speaking at the event today, IWA's CEO, Kathleen McLoughlin explained:
"Today is a very special day for IWA, our members and the Erris region. Through community spirit, hard work, determination and vision, various community and funding agencies recognised this project as a positive innovation and helped to make our dream of a modern, top class facility for people with disabilities a reality.
It is with great pleasure that IWA can say people with physical and sensory disabilities living in Belmullet and the surrounding areas can now enjoy the benefit of one of the most modern facilities in the country, where the environment was designed specifically to meet the requirements of people with physical and sensory disabilities".
The Resource and Outreach Centre has provided people with disabilities with greater independence, freedom and choice enriching their quality of life by delivering a broad range of social, educational and sporting activities that reflects the interest of local members. The facility is a result of a remarkable community effort and the Association welcomes all local groups, schools and organisations to visit the centre and utilise the amenities available there.
Looking to the future
IWA also looks forward to the next development in the Belmullet area with the addition of seven fully adapted houses for people with disabilities.
During the official opening ceremony, Marian Harkin MEP stated:
"Here in Belmullet today, we see the living breathing example of communities supporting their own people. This support has encompassed the vision of those who had a dream, and the commitment, hard work and tenacity of those who made it happen. It also encompassed the entire community in Belmullet, those who gave financial support through many rounds of fundraising, those who advised and helped, the volunteers who gave their time and expertise along the way, and the Mercy Order who donated the site.
But the ripples fan out even further, to include statutory bodies, state agencies, local and national politicians and of course the Irish Wheelchair Association, which has been a guiding light and a strong support throughout the process. Today we celebrate the original vision and the dedication that helped to make it a reality".