Our Disability Network provides a forum for people from local disability groups to:
- network, discuss common issues, support one another and work together more effectively;
- identify local service gaps and policy issues that need addressing;
- take joint action to promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in the local community.
The work of the group is supported by Bray Area Partnership staff under the Partnership's SICAP programme.
Over the years the group has taken a range of positive actions - from policy work and research on important issues at local and national level to addressing gaps in local services and initiating the set-up of new services and projects.
Recent issues highlighted by the network include lack of Changing Places facilities in our towns, barriers to getting onto the housing list and accessing housing, beach accessibility and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Our SICAP 2022 Case Study video on our Disability Network
Highlighting local issues has also led to further action at a national level - such as when research carried out by the network on the placement of younger people with disabilities in nursing homes in the Bray and Greystones area was picked up by the Disability Federation of Ireland, who rolled out this research nationwide and published a report in 2018: The situation of younger people with disabilities living in nursing homes in Ireland. This issue has since been taken up by the Ombudsman, who has published a report, Wasted Lives in May 2021, with a range of recommendations.
Examples of actions the network has undertaken include:
- Fun interactive Disability Awareness workshops in local schools, delivered by network members and young people with disabilities;
- Collaborative work to re-develop and support the Disability Bray website;
- Disability Speed Lobbies of Local and General Election candidates by people with disabilities who are members and service-users of local groups and services.
- Events such as our Big Chat With Councillors, where presentations on different issues for people with disabilities were given to councillors.
- A meeting of people with disabilities with Wicklow County Council Housing staff to find solutions to barriers to getting onto the housing list and accessing social housing.
- A collaboration with Wicklow Tourism where local young people who are wheelchair users made a video of their visit to accessible venues for a Wicklow Tourism vlog.
- A breakfast briefing for local employers on how to become a more disability confident and accessible employer and ongoing work to build on connections made with local employers.
- Supporting initiatives such as Green Ribbon Time to Talk Day and the DFI's Make Way Day.
- Working with local disability activists on local accessibility issues - for example, in the case of beach accessibility this led to substantial funding being allocated by councillors for a feasibility study on how to make Bray beach more accessible for people with disabilities.
- Input of local issues into the new Wicklow County Council Disability and Inclusion Steering Committee.
Disability network members come from these organisations:
- Autism Initiatives Wicklow
- Cairdeas Clubhouse members
- Disability Federation of Ireland
- EmployAbility Bray
- Festina Lente
- IMPACT Initiative
- Lakers Social and Recreational Club CLG
- National Learning Network Bray
- Open Door Day Centre
- RehabCare Bray
- St. Margaret's Donnybrook
- Wicklow Triple A Alliance
For more information about the work of this group contact Michelle Rogers on 01 286 8266 or email email@example.com.