Down Syndrome Ireland Laois branch to kick off St Patrick's Day fundraiser

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Down Syndrome Ireland Laois branch to kick off St Patrick's Day fundraiser

The Down Syndrome Ireland Laois Branch will kick off its annual shamrock sale fundraiser this week ahead of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Pots of fresh shamrock will be available for sale from Friday, March 8. Businesses or people who want to sell the shamrock can pre-order them and sell them on behalf of the Down Syndrome Ireland Laois Branch.

Pots of shamrock for will be on sale just in time for St Patrick’s Day on March 15 and 16 at Laois Shopping Centre. They are €5 per pot.

Organisers have said that all the money raised in Laois stay in Laois for local people and it will support the branch in bringing the Field of Dreams closer to fruition.

Down Syndrome Ireland's Laois Branch has secured land in Abbeyleix to build a major training and therapy centre for all its members.

This ‘Field of Dreams’ will be used as a Sheltered Employment Training Centre of Excellence for adult members with intellectual difficulties.

This Centre will be a hub for all necessary therapies and supports for members to augment the employment training programmes we will be running there.

The Laois Field of Dreams will train adults with Down Syndrome so they can work for proper wages in the mainstream economy. Mick Gorman has explained why this is a huge benefit.

"Our adult population will benefit greatly from this venture by helping to prepare them for meaningful employment in the community which will lead to positive mental health and well-being and support them to integrate fully into our communities around the county. They will have a reason to get up in the morning like the rest of us in mainstream society.

"We are hoping to get huge support from the people of Laois in helping to finance this venture. People with intellectual difficulties have a great deal to offer in the workplace. It is acknowledged, and there is empirical evidence to show that where people with Down Syndrome are employed by a company, there have been positive results for employers, such as less sickness and absenteeism among fellow workers with an increase in productivity also.

“People with Down Syndrome have an infectious nature that makes others working around them happier for being in their company. So, there is a dividend for employers to buy into a venture like this," Mr Gorman said.

Anyone who wants to order shamrocks can contact Mick 0860491633 or Ray 0862624092.