Members of the Tipperary branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association after being honoured in the healthcare awards.
The Tipperary branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association is urgently in need of financial support to extend badly needed services throughout the county.
The demand is there to justify an extension of services provided in Tipperary Town, Cashel and Carrick-on-Suir.
However a desire to increase the number of days services are available to wheelchair users cannot be realised because of a number of issues, primarily surrounding transport given the geographical spread involved of collecting people from their homes, transporting them to the centres and back home again.
“Our two buses are basically at the end of their life, we urgently require financial backing to put new buses on the road which would also help us increase the number of days the service is available,” said Josephine Carroll, Service IWA Co-ordinator South Tipperary Services.
The work being carried out from its Tipperary Town headquarters and in two outreach centres in Cashel and Carrick is phenomenal, reaching out to people in all parts of the county and the operation has been recognised nationally.
The Tipperary branch was named in the top four day care centres of the year category in the recent Irish Healthcare Centre Awards and the national Irish Wheelchair Association was nominated in eight categories winning two of those awards for the service they provide.
“It was the first time the Tipperary branch was ever nominated for the awards and it was just fantastic,” said Josephine Carroll.
The Tipperary branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association operates day care centres from their centre at Brodeen, Cashel Road, Tipperary town and at the Our Lady’s Hospital, Cashel and the Nano Nagle Centre in Carrick-on-Suir.
The service in Tipperary town is available four days a week and the outreach service in Cashel operates on Tuesday of every week and the service in the Nano Nagle centre in Carrick-on-Suir operates on Friday of every week.
In Tipperary town the day care centre is open four days a week from Monday to Thursday with a concentration on programmes involving keeping fit, education wellness and fitness and out of that centre a service is provided to enable wheelchair users to attend appointments and or do shopping with a personal assistant on hand to help and there are day trips and various outings organised the highlight of which is an annual holiday to Lanzarote.
This year the centre was improved to enable it to train people how to cook for themselves.
All the doors were widened in the centre and a fully equipped wheelchair kitchen was installed to allow for users to develop independent living skills and train how to cook in a proper environment with the proper equipment.
While the service is located in Tipperary town, people from all over South Tipperary attend, people have to be collected and returned from Emly to Ardfinnan down to Carrick on Suir and Clonmel a huge operation which consists of long journeys for users because of he lack of transport options.
Says Josephine - “Some people only attend one day a week and some people attend four days a week. It you are living alone and isolated we would prioritise more days.
“We would love to extend the service to Friday in Tipperary town and to increase the number of days we have services in Cashel and Carrick-on-Suir because the demand is there.
We need new transport, and we are in the process of fundraising for that. If anybody out there is willing to run a fundraiser to help us buy the buses we need we would love to hear from them”.
“We could consider going to five days in Tipperary town and putting on an extra day in Carrick and Cashel if we had the vehicles required. Transport is key to improving services” said Josephine.
In Cashel, with the assistance of the HSE, a multi disciplinary team provides a range of services including physotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language and a hot meal is provided.
“For people with a disability a very important part of the service is the provision of a hot meal “ said Josephine.
In Carrick-on-Suir a room is rented at the Nano Nagle centre and the programme is “user driven” according to Josephine with recreational, educational and sport programmes all designed by the users themselves.