Monday 16 July 2018

Highlighting disability issues

Myles Buchanan

Laura English of Disability Federation of Ireland was a guest at the February meeting of the Blessington and District Forum.

Laura, who gave a presentation on disability awareness, works as a Community Development Worker for Wicklow County Council two days a week and her role is to support the council to respond to the needs of those with disabilities and build their capacity to represent themselves through advocacy groups, the Public Participation Network and county structures like partnerships, ETBs and local groups.

During her presentation, Laura explained that people with disabilities should be made to feel that they are part of local communities.

Launched in 2017, the Wicklow Accessible Tourism Plan aims to promote County Wicklow as an accessible tourist destination.

It is felt that Blessington would be an ideal area for disability tourism due to its unique location and attributes.

Currently Cashel is the only town in Ireland with a Gold Star relating to its access, transport, awareness and social participation for those with disabilities.

Disability awareness is achieved through a partnership process which costs nothing to run. 1

Initiatives are funded by the community and private business with co-facilitated disability awareness training.

Following Ms English's presentation, forum members vowed to place a focus on planning, transport, accommodation, amenities, exploring, eating and drinking and on how each facet would facilitate disability tourism.

A public meeting will be organised shortly and it is also planned to engage with local schools.

Wicklow People