Tipperary wheelchair service wants to expand but needs more buses to meet demand

Eamon Lacey

Reporter:

Eamon Lacey

Tipperary wheelchair service wants to expand but needs more buses to meet demand

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.