The Munster Express, Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Waterford Disability Network has launched its new website and presented its inaugural Inclusion Award.

Newspaper clipping of website launch

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr Joe Kelly (Ind) was in attendance at a special event held at Waterford Disability Network’s New Street offices in the city on Monday August 16th. Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, attendance at the event was restricted but several organisations such as Waterford and South Kilkenny branch of Down Syndrome Ireland and ’50 Shades of Exceptional’ were represented.

Waterford Disability Network secretary Jo Cregan complimented Emily Breen in the Waterford Disability Network office for curating much of the content on the website. She also thanked David Fitzpatrick Web Design who designed the website to be as user friendly as possible. Gratitude was also expressed to the Granary Café who have always supported Waterford Disability Network.

Office manager Seán Rohan gave a demonstration of the new website. He explained that more content will be added based on feedback. It’s intended that videos will become a major feature as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

In relation to the inaugural Inclusion Award, he explained he had contacted InvincABLE Fitness Gym asking if the fitness centre would come on board as sponsor. “They were very enthusiastic so the certificate comes with €150,” he said.

Due to the success of its Football For All programme, it was agreed that Bohemians FC should be the recipients of this year’s award. Mayor Kelly and Rachel Beckett of InvincABLE Fitness presented the award to Dave Whittle, Club Chairman, who said many people in the club were responsible for the Football For All programme and that he was very happy to accept the award on behalf of all of them. He said the funding would go directly into funding the Football For All programme in the club.

From next year onwards, the Inclusion Award will be open to any non-disabled specific voluntary group in Waterford such as a sports club, drama society, scout troop, Tidy Towns committee etc. to nominate themselves or be nominated by anyone.

Meanwhile, Mayor Kelly said attending such events is the most enjoyable aspect of his role as Mayor. He spoke of the importance of inclusion at all levels of society and he congratulated Bohemians FC and wished the Inclusion Award success in the coming years. Also commenting on the award, Rachel Beckett of InvincABLE Fitness Gym said: “Inclusion may be a small word but to all of us at InvincABLE Fitness it is hugely important and is the cornerstone of what we do. We are very proud to be the only fitness centre of our kind in the country. We believe inclusion for all leads to a much greater feeling of self-confidence and personal growth which are vital components to living a full and happy life.

Everyone deserves a chance to be a part of and excel in whatever area of interest they wish regardless of abilities. For us it is a great privilege to be associated with such a truly meaningful award which leads the way for change in Waterford  City and County alongside our friends in Waterford Disability Network. Inclusion for all is a must! Congratulations to Bohemians FC on being the very first recipients of this award – keep up the great work.”

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