WLR Interview 17th August 2021yar

Deise Today, Tuesday 17th August, part 1 from 40.52 mins

DT: Damien Tiernan

SR: Seán Rohan

DT:         Going to go straight to Seán Rohan who joins me from Waterford Disability Network, I’ll take more of your texts & comments in a minute, Seán, good to talk to you again

SR:          And yourself Damien

DT:         We were speaking around a month ago about the launch of a new website which was going to be announced, really good spread in the Munster Express today again, go out and support your local newspapers, we’ll be talking to Darren about the News & Star story in a few minutes. Talk to me about this wonderful new website that you’ve launched

SR:          Can I just very quickly say we’re about three years in our new office now & I’d like to thank WLR, News & Star, Munster Express and more recently, & I have a lot of stories for them, the Dungarvan Leader for their support & it’s great to see the two page spread by Kieran today in the Munster & also an article on one of our members having a problem with his vaccines.

DT:         I saw that, yes

SR:          We decided to launch the website for a number of reasons, now it is as simple & user friendly as possible because of the audience we’re appealing to, one of the things on it is a directory of links to groups & organisations that support people with a disability & it’s also got an alphabetical search engine so if for example you’re only interested in Down Syndrome it will only be the links with Down Syndrome that will come up rather than you having to scroll down through, it’s also got some photos & newspaper articles from the past three years & into the future but we didn’t do much of that because we thought it would be pointless just to transcribe everything from our Facebook page onto the website & we’re going to be having new features on that. One for example is the last time I was interviewed by yourself, I put the interview on our website, sorry, on our Facebook page & some people pointed out that the Deaf community couldn’t hear it obviously, so we got it transcribed, so we got transcriptions & if I can work out the software I’m going to work out how to put subtitles on them in future instead but at the moment they’re ones that you can just read.

DT:         Yeah, it’s a difficult one & it’s important to do that because obviously the subtitles, we try to do it on some of our videos, more of them & again getting the right software for particular videos on social media, it’s very important.

SR:          Exactly, so if I can work that out I will, if I can’t then we will, like this one for example, tomorrow probably will be transcribed & put on our Facebook & our website. We’re going to be building it up based on demand, based on what our members & users say that they want to have on it, and getting a balance between getting as much information as possible, we’ll probably include more legislation & things that are available but there’s no point again in duplicating what Citizens Information, for example,  are doing, there’s far too many occasions where people are going to different websites & they’re finding out the same information so we want to be focused but yet as relevant as possible.

DT:         Sounds great, what is the website

SR:          It’s as simple as can be www.waterforddisabilitynetwork.ie

DT:         So waterforddisabilitynetwork.ie. It’s cost you a few bob, obviously, to get this up & running because people think a sure a website it just comes together. No, you get people to and obviously you’ve got support from that & from the government regarding that

SR:          We don’t get support from the government, we get support from the Waterford City & County Council & the PPN in Waterford & also Waterford Area Partnership, we haven’t got any support from, haven’t looked for any support from business although I will say after yesterday if anybody wants to sponsor us a television it would be more than appreciated.

DT:         Sponsor a telly?

SR:          Well we had to bring one down to display what was actually on the computer for the audience yesterday so that was actually brought from our secretary’s house so her husband wasn’t too happy, so that’s the one thing

DT:         So if anyone wants to donate a telly, to get in touch with yourself at Waterford Disability Network

SR:          Exactly, the only business that we have got support from & they’ve been very loyal from day one is actually The Granary Café, so I’d just like to send our appreciation to them as always . The other thing we did yesterday was we decided a while ago to launch an inclusion award, the reason being that a lot of people who have disabilities, they’re not too fond of terms like special needs & special needs assistant & all that because they don’t want to be treated, it’s the need that’s special not them, they just want to be treated the same as anybody else & so we decided to introduce an award for any non disability specific group in the voluntary sector whether it’s a sports group, scout troop, tidy towns committee, whatever it happens to be that’s proactive in including people with disabilities in their membership. Now in a few months time we’ll advertise for people to nominate groups or groups to nominate themselves for next year and, but this year, there’s no need to because there’s one obvious winner which was Bohemians Football Club, for the simple reason that they’ve been on to us many a time about how to help & encourage their “Football for All” programme, which is very successful, in fact some of the players have been going for trials with the Munster & Irish Down Syndrome teams, so very happy there & once I thought of it I contacted our friends in InvincAble Fitness Gym, which is an amazing service & it’s great to see two young Irish women have such a successful business that’s playing such a huge role in people’s lives & so the award is the, it’s a mouthful but, the Waterford Disability Network InvincAble Fitness Inclusion Award 2021 & so we gave that to Bohemians Football Club

DT:         Dave Whittle, the chairperson there, yeah, they’ve been doing some great work with the “Football for All” & other clubs have as well

SR:         Others have & we look forward to many nominations next year from clubs, from scout troops, whoever it happens to be, it was just, there was really, to be honest during covid as well to make it simple, but they’re the only ones who proactively come to us many a time asking for encouragement & publicity for their services

DT:         Seán it’s lovely to talk to you again, congratulations on setting up the website & well done on the launch yesterday & the very best of luck with it

SR:          Thank you Damien

DT:              waterforddisabilitynetwork.ie

SR:          Exactly

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