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Jul 16, 2010

'Pane' in the Neck

You are sitting having lunch at your kitchen table when a pigeon slams head-first into the window at full speed! The story sounds bizarre to say the least but this is exactly what happened, reports George Knaggs, one of Sunbeams Directors, a few weeks ago while sitting with his wife at the table. The pigeon in question promptly shook it off and flew away stunned but not without leaving a ghostly imprint on the glass.

Jul 14, 2010

Protest march 07-07-10

Here, Betty and Donna write a short piece about their experience of the protest March in Dublin last week...

'We went in to the march in Dublin on Wednesday the 7th of July. There were thousands of people from all over Ireland assembled. We marched from O' Connoll St. to the Government Buildings.
Liz McManus T.D. was there as was Enda Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore. We spoke to them about the proposed cutbacks in respite services and disability services.

Our rent has gone up and disability allowance gone down. Things are getting tougher, money-wise.

We are glad we went in to march. We went in to protest for us but also to represent Sunbeam and the people who couldn't make it in. It brought the issue to national attention.
We heard on the television that they are not going to make the cuts now. We are shocked, actually, that they listened to us and we had an effect.
We hope this sort of thing doesn't happen again.'

Here is another account of the day in question -

'My name is Helen Donnelly. I am a client of Sunbeam House Services. On Wednesday the 7th of July, I marched from the Garden of Rememberance to Leinster House. I was protesting against any further cuts to Sunbeam House Services & other disabilities services.

We got a lot of support along the way. People were beeping horns & cheering us on. We carried a placard saying “no more cuts”.

I spoke to Enda Kenny, leader of Fine Gael, and Eamonn Gilmore, leader of the Labour Party. I spoke to them about concerns I have if our funding is cut again.

By protesting I was standing up for my rights. I was making my voice heard.
I hope the Government will listen.'

Jul 1, 2010

Arklow Pedestrian Access

A presentation was made two weeks ago to Arklow town council highlighting the urgent need for safer pedestrian crossings in the town. Several service-users and staff were involved in trying to get change to happen. Check out the video...


Project; To Raise Disability Issues with Arklow Town Council
Aim; To improve accessibility for everyone in Arklow

Since January 2010 Cathy and Tara have been attending the new training programme based in Lower Main Street in Arklow.
An important aim of this programme is to build links with the local community, support people to develop their independence using local facilities, using banks, shops, cafes the library and leisure centres, gaining work experience in local businesses, enjoying voluntary work with Tidy Towns and Coast Care, and generally becoming independent active members of their community.
Two of the challenges facing the trainees are negotiating the main street, and the route to the Bridge Water shopping centre. The narrow footpaths are often obstructed by displays or signs outside shops. The high volume of traffic through the town is compounded by the lack of pedestrian crossings between the two main shopping areas. Access onto and off the bridge is very steep, and several footpaths have dishing on only one side of the street, leaving a person using a wheelchair stranded in the middle of the traffic because of the steep step on the far side of the street.
These challenges affect anyone who is not quick on their feet, like parents with small children, people with walking difficulties, or wheelchair users.
With these issues in mind, Cathy and Tara were supported to write to the Arklow Town Council, requesting a meeting with the traffic committee.
While waiting for a reply, Sunbeam Media worked with Cathy and Tara to produce a short film highlighting the main issues they wanted addressed.

On 17th June 2010 the Sub-Traffic Committee meeting of Arklow town Council was attended by the Mayor of Arklow, the town engineer and assistant engineer, several councillors, representatives of the traders and the Gardai, the town clerk, and the delegation from SHS; Cathy Macken, Tara Cawley , Gavin O’Reilly and Suzanne Bennett.
After our presentation, one councillor observed; “A picture paints a thousand words, and your film leaves us speechless” an unusual experience at a Town Council Meeting!
The outcome of the meeting was a promise from the county engineer that funding earmarked for Accessibility issues would be used to address the challenges we raised in Arklow town. When pressed for a time frame, we were assured that we would see improvements before the end of 2010.
When The Town Council keeps their promise, these improvements to Arklow will be a constant reminder of People Power.