Irish Wheelchair Association members and staff came together in our Roscommon Community Centre last week to celebrate the new building and mark some significant milestones that passed during Covid restrictions.

Aisling Tarmey, Roscommon Service Coordinator, welcomed guests to the bright community centre on Racecourse Road, which was buzzing with chat and laughter of old and new friends.

Opening the event, Aisling remembered the hunt for a new premise began in 2019 but was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Aisling acknowledged the hard work of her team throughout that time. “We were always on the phones checking on members, organising outreach home visits, zoom quizzes, delivery of food parcels, trips to get people their vaccines and delivering activity packs to help alleviate boredom. This was no easy feat considering we had no centre to operate out of at the time. Staff meetings were held outdoors to facilitate social distancing. Now for the most part, we are back to our normal day service activities and delighted to be working out of our new centre,” she said.

Aisling was keen to remember a staff member who retired during Covid and could only be presented with a gift over his garden wall at that time. Members and staff were delighted to celebrate Clive Gutherie formally in the Roscommon Centre last week. Employees were recognised for their dedication to members over the past number of years. Two much-loved members who passed away in recent years were also remembered fondly by guests.

During the event, a special note of recognition was dedicated to the Irish Wheelchair Association Roscommon Branch, volunteers who work tirelessly to raise funds and support Irish Wheelchair Association members in Roscommon each and every year. It was noted during the event that Irish Wheelchair Association was established by volunteers in 1960, and in Roscommon, volunteers have been supporting our members for almost fifty years. Current Roscommon Branch volunteers were presented with a framed picture history, which will be displayed in the Irish Wheelchair Association Community Centre.

The event in Roscommon was a much-needed opportunity for staff and members to come together and celebrate a fresh start with hope for the future. Monica McGowan Hughes, who oversees Irish Wheelchair Association’s Athlone and Roscommon services, warmly thanked staff for their dedication and spirit. She dedicated the event to Irish Wheelchair Association’s Roscommon members and recited a poem to capture the spirit of the event. 

The years will never take away,
Our chance to start a new,
It’s only the beginning now,
So dreams can still come true.”