Flanagans Lane Restaurant created their own piece of history in Tipperary this week by becoming the first restaurant in Tipperary Town to introduce an accessible range of menus in braille, clear print and audio formats to assist people with visual impairments. The menus were launched at Flanagans Lane Restaurant by the Tipperary Gold Star Initiative in partnership with students from Cashel Community School and the NCBI.
The Tipperary Gold Star initiative was launched in October 2012, based on the successfully piloted Cashel model in 2007. The project is a HSE led community based initiative that aims to work with the local community to raise disability awareness and improve access for all who live in or visit Tipperary Town.
Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Anna Tuohy-Halligan officially launched the menu range that were developed by a group of students from Cashel Community School last year and entered in the Young Social Innovators competition. The Deputy Mayor congratulated the students on winning the Bronze Medal award at the YSI finals last year.
“The students entered the project under the under the clever caption of, ‘Do You Want Braille With That’. The menus have been endorsed by the Restaurant Association of Ireland and top Irish chef Derry Clarke introduced the menus at his restaurant saying it was a hugely creative and innovative project to be involved with,” said Cllr. Anna Touhy-Halligan.
Speaking at the launch at Flanagans Lane Restaurant, student Declan Burgess said the students developed the menu idea in partnership with the Cashel Gold Star and the NCBI in a bid to make cafes and restaurants accessible and comfortable for people with visual impairments.
“People with visual impairments had a right to be independent and make their own choices in food outlets. The menus started out in two restaurants in Cashel last year and now ten restaurants have introduced them,” explained Declan.
As a group, the students are very excited to see the menus being introduced in Tipperary Town by the Management of Flanagans Lane Restaurant. They hope this will be just the first of many restaurants that will introduce the menus in partnership with the Gold Star programme in Tipperary Town.
Speaking on behalf of the Tipperary Gold Star Task Group and the Excel Arts Centre, “It is wonderful to see so many agencies and private businesses such as Flanagans Lane working together to improve access in a number of ways in Tipperary Town,” said Mary Alice O’Connor. She thanked Des and Aileen Brazill, proprietors of Flanagans Lane, on being the first restaurant to introduce the menus and how the word, ‘partnership’ was the essence of the Gold Star project.”
Anne Bradshaw, HSE, thanked everyone for the support. “Tipperary Town is very fortunate to have been chosen as the second town in Ireland to roll out the Gold Star Disability project based on the piloted Cashel model. All service providers in Tipperary have been hugely supportive of the project and Flanagans Lane restaurant was one example of this. When I first spoke with Des Brazill about introducing the menu range his only question was, ‘what can we do to help’?
Des Brazill, proprietor of Flanagans said he was delighted to be involved with the project. “I feel it is crucial to include all members of the community in our restaurant.”
The Gold Star Project has been recognised as a national best practice model and is due to be rolled out in Wexford Town and Westport Co. Mayo in the coming months. For more information log on to www.tipp.cashelgoldstar.ie