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.
Although the project is HSE led it can only be successful if there is support and buy-in from the community.
“To date there has been huge support and a Gold Star Task Group has been set up to monitor and oversee the roll out of the project,” explained Anne Bradshaw, HSE.
“The Task Group has representatives from a range of areas including disability groups, volunteers, private, community, voluntary and statutory groups.”
With the Tipperary Gold Star initiative it is the people with disabilities and the community that lead the way.
Recently the task group and participants from the Moore Haven Centre and the Irish Wheelchair Association were involved in a ‘wheelabout’ in the town helping to identify, ‘the biggest barriers to access’ and also highlighting the positive things for wheelchair users in the town.
They also identified barriers for people with visual impairments.
The task group will now work with the relevant agencies and groups to address these issues.
“Based on the Cashel model, the project can only work if private business come on board and work with the task group. Tipperary Town’s Chamber of Commerce have been greatly supportive of the initiative and many individual businesses and service providers are involved,” said Ms Bradshaw.
One of the first projects was to design a logo and young people in the schools were invited to create it.
The logo has been developed into signage and signs are now being erected by the Town Council on all entrance roads to the town, showing Tipperary Towns’ commitment to achieving Gold Star Status for access for people with disabilities.
In order to achieve Gold Star Status for the town, business and service providers will be invited to work with the task group to find cost effective ways of making their premises accessible.
One key way is to ensure all staff knows how to communicate with people with disabilities.
In the coming months the project will be rolling out the GSDAT programme (Gold Star Disability Awareness Training) and all business and service providers will be invited to have staff attend.
The project aims to get all businesses on board to apply to the Task Group for Gold Star Status. Each businesses will be assisted by the Task Group on how to achieve this status.
Any one, individual volunteer or business or company that would like come on board or to know more about the project and how to become involved can log on to the www.tipp.cashelgoldstar.ie website or follow us on our facebook page.
Anne Bradshaw can be contacted on Mobile number 087 6296461.