A new and exciting initiative to develop Ballinasloe as an accessible, inclusive environment is due to be launched this month with an information evening scheduled for Monday 23rd May @ 7.30pm in Gullanes Hotel & Conference Centre.
The focus for the project is to develop Ballinasloe town and hinterland as an area which welcomes and supports everyone to live an independent and healthy life regardless of age or disability.
The project was born out of a recognition that although much progress has been made to date, there are still many shortcomings and this is an area which requires continuous development and adaptation to meet the needs of everyone in our community. The Accessibility Ballinasloe Team are taking a holistic approach which will be cognisant all life stages from parents with babies and young children to older adults. Another key aspect of the project will focus on empowering persons with disabilities – sensory, physical and intellectual.
Considerable work is currently taking place within this area both nationally and regionally and there will be many opportunities to collaborate with groups throughout the country who have already made inroads in developing more supportive communities. Many businesses are also taking the initiative to provide a more inclusive service with Supervalu Monksland and Clonakilty leading the way providing sensory friendly shopping which is of particular benefit to those with autism as well as other special needs. At set times during the day all music and in-store announcements are turned off and lighting is dimmed to create a calmer environment with less sensory stimulation. These businesses have taken a lead in this area in the hope that many others including the large chains will follow suit.
The Project will be driven by a Project Team represented by Deborah Brady, Ken Campbell, Marion Ruane and Teresa Coughlan who each bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge within this area. The Team however stress that the overall model for the project will be Community based with all sectors contributing to the development and implementation of our Accessibility Ballinasloe Action Plan. There is ample opportunity for all groups and clubs to work together in identifying creative ways of improving the lives of people in our community. This was very much a key element of the success of the recent Fit Town Project where we saw groups with a common interest (such as the Brothers of Charity and Ballinasloe Rugby Club, Ballinasloe Eagles and East Galway Hunt) join forces to support each other.
There are a number of priority projects the Accessibility Ballinasloe Team are interested in pursuing over the coming year including; working towards universal design to ensure our public areas are accessible to all, awareness and education campaigns, National Buddy Bench project with local schools network, outdoor fitness equipment fit out, working with the business community to identify areas for improvement – physical layouts, service area, awareness/training, visual picture menus.
An information evening will take place in Gullanes Hotel & Conference Centre on Monday May 23rd @ 7.30 pm and we are inviting representatives from all Clubs, Groups, Organisations, Businesses and Schools to attend so that together we can identify what changes we can make and how we can make them happen #togetherwecan
For further information and updates check out Accessibility Ballinasloes Facebook page below
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