Laois Wheelchair Association appeals to local people for help to fill big Covid-19 funding gap

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Covid-19 Covid-19 Covid-19

The Timahoe New Year's Day walk is one of the big fundraisers for the Irish Wheelchair Assocition services in Laois Johnny Dalton and the McDonald Family led the walk in 2019.

The Irish Wheelchair Association in Laois has issued an appeal to the public to fill a €1 million gap that its national parent body is facing after having to cancel its street collection and lose other funding due to Covid-19. 

The organisation says it has had to cancel the annual collection due to the Covid-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of the public, its volunteers and the people it supports.

Instead, the charity has launched an online appeal called ‘Without You, We’re Stuck’ and is asking people to make a donation online.

The association says the street collection raises €300,000 towards the charity’s work with people with physical disabilities. IT says this is the first time in the collection’s 30-year history that it has been cancelled.

Josephine Kenny is a member of the Irish Wheelchair Association in Laois.

“The loss of this critical income is concerning at a time when our local fundraising events have already had to stop. We estimate that we will have lost almost €1 million in fundraising income nationally by the end of the year. Without this support, our services and the people we support will be stuck.

“We rely entirely on the generosity of the public to fund our wheelchair accessible buses, which are a lifeline for connecting people who cannot access public transport, to our services. Our children’s sports clubs, driving school and many other services are also supported through local fundraising efforts.

“We are all in this together as we face this pandemic and we are committed to protecting public health and that of our members and volunteers. As we sadly cancel our street collection, we are asking people, if they can afford it, to make a donation at iwa.ie.

“This year is our 60th anniversary, and while we have had to postpone many plans, our frontline workers throughout Co. Laois have redoubled their efforts to ensure that nobody we support has been left alone and isolated throughout the crisis.

“Our members in Co. Laois depend on our services, and as an organisation, we are working tirelessly to keep everyone we support connected to their communities.

“Our local community centres were turned into outreach services within hours of the lockdown being announced. Our assisted living team, which provides home support, has continued their essential work in people’s homes, with an emergency team of courageous frontline staff ready to work in full PPE with people who have to isolate.

“Our services are needed now, more than ever. We would be incredibly grateful if people could remember Irish Wheelchair Association services in Co. Laois this week and make a donation through our website,” she said.

Irish Wheelchair Association is Ireland’s largest membership organisation for people with physical disabilities. It supports 4,000 people every week in every county of Ireland.

To support the Irish Wheelchair Association’s ‘Without You, We’re Stuck’ appeal visit www.iwa.ie