Longford and Westmeath County Childcare Committees hosted a Disability Information Event in the Longford Arms Hotel on Wednesday March 1, last.
The event showcased some of the services and supports available in the county for young people and adults with disabilities, as well as their families.
“The event was very successful. There were over 15 information stands, which pertained to supports available locally. Over 40 people attended the full event, with additional attendees coming and going throughout the evening,” said Emer Carron, Coordinator for Longford County Childcare Committee.
In addition to providing information, the event saw the launch of two publications: ‘A Guide to Services for Young People with Disabilities’ and ‘Transition Passport’ and outlined the Local Area Coordination Project, which is a cross country project in Longford and Westmeath, led by the County Childcare Committees in each county.
The aim of the project is to help children and young people aged 0 to 24 with additional needs to access supports and services.
However, the project is funded by Dormant Accounts and this funding is ceasing entirely in early April: “therefore it is necessary for relevant organisations and local politicians to support the extension of this project,” said Miss Carron.
Guest speaker at the event was Victor Connell who, at the age of 25, was left paralysed after sustaining a serious spinal injury in a scrum during a rugby game with Longford Rugby Club.
“Victor talked about his accident and the subsequent 11 years. He spoke about his recovery process and his positive outlook. He outlined how he had to find out all the necessary information himself, highlighting the benefit of this project,” Miss Carron explained.
“He spoke about refocusing himself, getting his independence back and setting himself goals to achieve over the next ten years - all of which he has achieved, and he has set himself more ambitious goals over the coming year.
“He talked about retraining, volunteering with ‘Good 2 Talk’ and now managing this service. His talk was extremely inspirational and gave great insight into the life of an individual living with a disability.”
Longford County Childcare Committee will host an Autism Information night facilitated by the Middletown Centre for Autism on May 2 from 7pm to 9pm.
This event will cover general information on Autism, anxiety, social and personal relationships.
If this event is successful, the Middletown Centre for Autism will return later in the year with a five-week course.
For more information on upcoming events or to get in touch with the Longford County Childcare committee, see www.longfordchildcare.ie.
See Page 44 for more photographs from the event.