06 Jul 2022

Laois council gets money to advance for disability community integration

Laois council gets money to advance for disability community integration

Members of the Laois founded Physical Impairment Ireland with Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte after a meeting in Portlaoise

Laois County Council is getting €75,000 from Government to support the participation of people with disabilities in local activities and to help remove barriers to community involvement.

The funding is part of an announced by Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, for 39 projects across all 31 local authorities  amounting to €2.5 million under the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund (DPAF) 2021.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability Integration and Youth says the Laois grant will go to supporting a suite of works, initiatives, awareness campaigns and training to promote awareness and improve accessibility for our citizens.

The funding also aims to support the promotion and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in communities.

The Laois Offaly TD and Minister of State at the Department of Finance Seán Fleming welcomed the announcement.

"It is great that funding has now been allocated.  A number of Local Authorities indicated that it would be important that any fund would build awareness of these issues within their own organisations so they could implement policies at a practical level for the benefit of all in local communities.

"I look forward to Laois County Council utilising this fund for the benefit of people with disabilities to ensure a programme is put in place in all areas in the county and are accessible to everybody locally.

"This new fund will also be a learning experience for all Local Authorities so that they can apply for further funding in 2022 to target measures that will make practical changes to participation and integration that will benefit everybody in everyday life in our community," he said.

While counties other than Laois partnered with non-government organisations in their applications, the Department says funding in 2022 will go directly to community groups. 

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability Rabbitte welcomed the 2021 round and spoke further as to how the funding will evolve.

"I know that there was huge interest in this Fund and that speaks to the need for practical and effective measures to support the integration of persons with disabilities into our daily community life.

“Working in partnership with Local Authorities and community organisations supported by this Fund, we will be able to make progress on breaking down barriers to participating in local activities and making local amenities more accessible. Much will be done through the projects that are receiving funding today, and there is much more than we can continue to achieve through this Fund over the coming years.

“The provision of this funding speaks to this government’s commitment and willingness to make our local places and spaces accessible to all. Reflecting on the applications received, Local Authorities made a significant number of applications for capacity building and awareness raising within their organisations and it is my intention to engage with Local Authorities over the coming year to address these needs in a structured format.

“We will use the learning from this year’s fund to help us target measures that will make practical changes to participation and integration with the everyday life of our communities,” concluded Minister Rabbitte.

The Disability Participation and Awareness Fund 2021 was announced in October 2021. Applications were invited from Local Authority applicants around key themes to support the participation and inclusion of disabled people in local communities:

  • Participation in community life i.e. sports, the arts, community groups, and so forth;
  • Accessible information and shared public places;
  • UNCRPD promotion; and
  • Disability awareness and capacity building.

It was open to local authorities to partner with local and community organisations in delivering on projects. Projects were assessed against eligibility criteria and then scored on a number of areas, including the extent to which proposed projects aligned with the stated aims and goals of the Fund.

For the full table of projects that have been offered funding here:

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2006. Ireland signed the Convention in 2007 and ratified the Convention in 2018.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

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