Midlands Áirc delivers Halloween care and activity boxes to Longford families

Longford Leader reporter

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Longford Leader reporter

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Longford-based Midlands Áirc volunteer Josephine Feeney helped deliver Halloween care boxes to the parents and activity boxes to the children of twenty families across the county during the mid-term.

Áirc volunteers engaged in ‘reverse trick or treating’ by dressing up and dropping the treat packs to families and the reception they received was very positive.

Thanks to Áirc’s charity partners at Ericsson, they were in a position to be able to provide 150 carer packs that contain treats, pamper goods, face masks, bath bombs, a little bottle of wine and a book #100happydays (kindly donated by Arlene Naughton, Child psychologist) with ideas of activities to do with your children.

The activity boxes for the children contained crafts, workbooks and a specially designed Autumn outdoor activity book by Carole McGuinness from Child’s Play therapy. This book is to promote communication and language development. The pack also has fun stuff, a squeeze ball, cake mix to get baking with and sweet treats. These boxes went out to 200 children across the midlands.

Áirc Midlands is a support organisation that supports children with disabilities and their support circle.

Killoe's Josephine Feeney explained, “We are a 100% voluntary group and our committee is made up of parents and friends of children with disabilities. We are based in four counties - Westmeath, Offaly, Longford and Roscommon.”

Before Covid-19, Áirc’s services were inclusive activities for children with disabilities which also included their siblings and friends such as horse riding, messy play, swimming, dancing and their sports club called ‘The Penguin Club’.

Áirc also offers emergency respite and equipment grants. They support parents through coffee mornings, parent training and peer support.

Josephine added, “Since Covid-19 hit and the first lockdown, we had to stop all activities for the children. As family carers, ourselves, we recognise what a difficult time this has been on children with disabilities and their families. So we worked hard behind the scenes to come up with a way we could support families remotely.”

Áirc Midlands previously worked with the Longford Westmeath county Childcare committees and organised activities like playgroups and parent coffee mornings for families.

Many families from Longford attend Áirc activities in Mullingar and Athlone, and they’ve plans to expand further into Longford.

Áirc has linked up with local parents, including Josephine Feeney, Bernie Boyce, Dolores Needham, Kelly Gannan and Joey McGrath, who are organising camps for children with disabilities.

Áirc Midlands are hoping to deliver care and activity boxes again at Christmas so if anyone would like to volunteer to help out they can contact Áirc Midlands on their Facebook page or if anyone would like to make a donation, that can also be arranged through PayPal at aircmidlands@gmail.com