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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Putting away the laptops: Independent.ie workers get hands dirty to build a garden

Orlagh Bailey

Published 01/08/2014 | 08:36

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DITCHING the laptops for a day, 40 Independent.ie staff set off for Walkinstown in Dublin yesterday - bound for a new outreach centre called WALK.

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Starting at 10am, Independent.ie workers arrived to a barren backyard, occupied only by timber and dust.

But, by 2pm, they had built four wheelchair accessible sleeper beds and walling, and painting was well underway - the long-planned garden was beginning to become a reality.

Inside, Joe Mason, CEO of WALK stood in a cement room which would soon be a cafe. He was in high spirits.

"We’re getting a month’s work done in one day thanks to the staff of Independent.ie," he said.

"I’ve seen a real transformation today."

Mr Mason has been working on building the centre for a number of months, and the arrival of 40 healthy, willing volunteers was welcomed with open arms.

Some of the work being undertaken at the WALK centre yesterday

He explained the importance of WALK to the Walkinstown community:

"WALK stands for Walkinstown Association Linking Communities," he said.

"We’re an organisation that’s founded for people with intellectual disabilities. We support approximately 140 people with intellectual disabilities, and have 176 staff, and we service people everywhere from Walkinstown to Dublin City Centre.

"The cafe will provide support for people with disabilities through employment. We also hope to set up local training initiatives in our workshop, which will provide skills training at Fetac Levels 3 and 4.

"The training is for any member of the community, particularly people who feel marginalised".

Independent.ie workers at the WALK centre yesterday

Put another way, WALK is all about integration.

"Yes," Mr Mason agreed, "That’s exactly what WALK is all about."

Managing Director of Independent.ie Fiona O’Carroll, shares this ideology.

"Today, we’re creating a garden out of nothing," she said.

Fiona O'Carroll, MD of Independent Digital, at the WALK centre yesterday

"Today is an opportunity for us to give something back to the community, which is one of the real goals of Independent.ie. This was the perfect combination – do a team event that also enabled us to give something back."  

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