Inspired seeking new Tralee home

Hugh O'Brien, Jessica Power, Hichael Hussey, Jack Kingston, Mary Flynn, Labhaoise O'Connor and Kerrie O'Mahony
Hugh O'Brien, Jessica Power, Hichael Hussey, Jack Kingston, Mary Flynn, Labhaoise O'Connor and Kerrie O'Mahony

"Inspired changed my life," the words of young Tralee man Jack Kingston who recently addressed Kerry County Council on behalf of the special needs charity which is currently seeking a new home.

Inspired, which is currently based in a small upstairs unit in Tralee Town Square, is a community based project which was created to help people with disabilities to focus on their abilities.

Inspired seeks to help young adults with learning difficulties become active citizens as well as providing them with new options when they leave school.

Participants are able to take part in a range of classes and group forums, ranging from drama and literacy to cookery and retail sales skills, which are aimed at improving their employment, educational and personal skills.

One notable example of Inspired's work recently were the flower boxes the group made and distributed to businesses in Tralee Town Centre as part of this year's Tidy Towns effort.

Though an acknowledged success, 'Inspired' is set to lose its home in th coming weeks and they are now urgently seeking new premises from which they can continue their work.

To that end a group from Inspired addressed the members of the Tralee Municipal District Council this month to ask for their help in finding a new home and volunteers said it's critical for the continued success of the programme that they can find a new home in or close to Tralee Town Centre.

While there may be some units available outside Tralee, Inspired say these wouldn't be suitable their success has been built on the fact that the programme is located at the very centre of the community and a visible presence in the town centre.

A number of Inspired's participant's, who had been invited to address the council by Cllr Pat Daly spoke to councillors about what inspired meant to them, with Jack Kingston making a particularly heartfelt appeal.

Jack, who said he is on the autistic spectrum, told councillors that his time with Inspired had changed his life.

"I joined Inspired last October and I've been having an absolute blast. It's a great part of my life and it has really turned things around for me," he said.

"Thanks to Inspired I have developed confidence - and I mean a lot of confidence. I've found a job and I've started college. Without Inspired I wouldn't have been able to do any of that," said Jack.

"Thanks to them I've had the best year of my life. There's no judgement, no cynicism and everyone is free to express themselves. There is nowhere else like it," Jack said.

The clearly impressed councillors said they were well aware of Inspired's excellent work and would do all they could.

Councillors Toireasa Ferris and Jim Finucane said they and other councillors would work with the Kerry ETB to see if accommodation can be found.

Cllr Terry O'Brien also pledged support saying he and other councillors would work with Tralee Chamber Alliance and all other relevant bodies to help Inspired find a home.

Tralee Town Manager Charlie O'Sullivan also gave his backing to the effort and revealed that Inspired is currently working with the council on a major study of accessibility in Tralee.

Given that there are over 90 vacant premises in Tralee town centre it is hoped that a solution to Inspired's accommodation problem can be found soon.