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Sunday 27 May 2018

'Who would do something like this?' - Centre for blind children falls victim to vandalism

The damage done to the centre
The damage done to the centre

Rachel Farrell

Ireland's only education centre for blind children is appealing for help after falling victim to vandalism last week.

The team at ChildVision, the National Education Centre for Blind Children, were in shock last Sunday after their equine sensory trail in Drumcondra was destroyed overnight by unknown culprits.

“We have no idea who did it, the sensory field is removed from the rest of the campus. There’s no electricity down there so we had no CCTV,” explained Ruth Hickey, head of fundraising at ChildVision.

“There’s a back wall that people have climbed over in the past, but it’s never been anything malicious,” she told Independent.ie

The damage done to the centre
The damage done to the centre

“That’s why it was so shocking. We’ve been caring for blind people for 150 years and everyone in the Drumcondra area has always been so respectful of it.”

The trail was built by volunteers, and ChildVision are keen to rebuild it as soon as they can. Hickey said the local support has been “amazing”.

“A man from the UK said he would remake the woodwork and send it over from the UK. Another local donated a watertight container to keep the toys in.

“We’ve had so many sentiments of support on social media, because it makes you wonder who would do that to the children. So much time and effort went into making the trail so it makes you think of all those volunteers too.”

ChildVision met their target of €7,000 to rebuild the trail yesterday, thanks to online donations from the public and a mass donation of €6,200 from one of their corporate partners, Mason Hayes and Curran.

A ‘Fix the Sensory Trail’ event will take place on May 13th to start rebuilding the trail. Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath and local councillor Damian O’Farrell took to the streets of North Dublin this week to hand out leaflets and show their support.

The sensory trail is part of their Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy Programme, which offers children and young adults with physical, sensory, mental health, psychological and intellectual disabilities a therapeutic experience with horses.

According to ChildVision, the interaction between children and horses can have a powerful effect.

If you want to help ChildVision you can donate here

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