The Step Forward Group meets every second Wednesday of the month at Hospital Family Resource Centre from 10.30am to 12.30pm. The group is always open to new members.
Why the Group exists
Recognising the lack of a voice for people with disabilities in the area, Hospital Family Resource Centre worked with local volunteers to set up a training course on equality issues targeting people with disabilities in 2004; from this training a group of people came together and set up the ‘Step Froward Disability Group’, to give a voice to people with disabilities and carers. One of the reasons the group came together is to be involved with others like themselves, so they can relate to each others experiences and give space to group members to support each other, share information and lobby around disability issues impacting on the lives of people with disabilities and carers in the community.
All of the group are involved with disability; some have a disability and others have family members with a disability or have an interest in volunteering with the group. Group members come from the communities of Charleville, Kilmallock, Bruff, Ballylanders, Bulgaden, Hospital and Knocklong and all experienced the unique isolation people with disability experience in the community. Disabilites represented in the Step Forward Disability Group are: Sensory, Physical, Motor Neuron, Acquired Brain Injury, Intellectual Disability, & Post Polio.
Step Forward Disability Group Values
We believe all people should be treated equally with respect and unconditional acceptance. We strive to see the ability not just the disability and to acknowledge and support the talents and achievement of all people. We believe that people who have a disability have the right to be personally independent and to have the training needed to do so. Equally, they have the right to seek the help they need and to be treated with dignity at all times.
Raising awareness of Disability Community & Business Sector
The Step Forward Group also raises disability awareness in business and community sector in order to increase accessibility for all. The group strives to promote and facilitate people with disabilities to become active in local public life and decision-making structures. The following are just some of the agencies & committees which group members currently support:
- Board of Hospital FRC
- Board of Ballyhoura Development
- Board of Mobile IT
- Special Olympics
- Carers Group Hospital
- Volunteers with Hospital FRC Groups – Rainbows, Older People, PR Sub-Group, Volunteer Forum
- St. Joseph’s Foundation
- Fundraising for Irish Guide Dogs, Pieta House, Special Olympics and St. Joseph’s Foundation etc.
- HSE & DFI Mid-West Regional Disability Committee
- Family Resource Centre National Forum
- Charleville Men’s Shed
Achievements to Date
- Lobby campaign on the misuse of footpaths 2008/2009
- Enable not disable project with John the Baptist TY students 2010
- Election manifestos for local and national elections
- Presentation to Limerick County Council on Disability
- Community Disability Audits in Kilmallock, Hospital & Ballylanders
- National VISPA Award for supports of people with disability in the Community 2010
- Position papers on cut back to Rural Transport, HSE cuts etc.
- Lifelong Learning ‘Flash Mob Event’ 2013
- 1.9 – Annual PR Planner – Awareness Raising & Highlight FRC work through events.
- Networking with other disability groups
- Presentations on Mental Health, Disability Advocacy etc.
One group member states that the disability support project at Hospital Family Resource is about
“redressing the imbalance and focusing on capacity building of disabled people to realise that society’s lack of adequate responses to their needs is what creates disability”
Rural Bus supports the Step Forward Group members with transport to attend meetings.
Two runs take place as follows:
Routh 39: Ballylanders, Knocklong, Hospital
Route 39A: Charleville, Kilmallock, Bruff, Hospital
To Access Transport: Contact Hospital Family Resource Centre at 061383884 or rural Bus at 069 78040