A “toolkit” which shows how local community and sports groups can be more accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities will be launched by Wicklow County Council’s Disability and Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC) on Friday (Dec 2).
The toolkit offers practical advice for sports and community groups about how to make their facilities and meeting spaces as accessible as possible. It also gives tips on how to make communication clear for everyone, and how best to include people with disabilities in the management of clubs and societies.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, said: “We hope that this toolkit will be a useful resource for all community and voluntary groups and help them to become as welcoming and as inclusive as possible.”
Mr Brian Gleeson, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, agreed saying: “This event reflects the Council’s strong commitment to making Wicklow a more accessible place for all. As far as we know, we are the only local authority in the country with a committee like DISC. It brings together the Council, community services, elected members and people with disabilities to work on disability issues in a coordinated way. We’re very proud to be leading the way.”
Helen Howes, resource worker for Wicklow’s Public Participation Network, which has a membership of over 400 groups, is part of the Committee who worked on the toolkit and said: “Our members are usually very open to including people with disabilities. Often knowledge is the key barrier. Community groups just need support and advice and then they’ll run with it! We hope this toolkit goes some way in providing that support.”
As well as launching the toolkit, DISC hope that the event will promote their work across the county.
Cllr Miriam Murphy, who is a member of the group, explained that DISC was set up during the pandemic and has never met face to face, stated: “We’ve been working hard together for over two years, but we’ve never been in the same room! We’re really looking forward to finally meeting and making it a celebration.”
The launch event will include short presentations as well as music to celebrate everything the group has achieved so far. A choir of people with Parkinson’s from Ashford and a session group from Sunbeam House services in Arklow will be on hand to entertain the attendees.
Anyone who would like a hardcopy of the toolkit or to find out more about DISC, please contact Laura O’Callaghan at email@example.com