Alexandra is a fantastic artist in our midst. Her paintings are hanging in many of our units and have a very unique and colourful style to them. She uses mostly a special type of felt marker for the majority of her work. She spends a lot of time painting both at home and elsewhere. If you would like an Alexandra original hanging on your wall contact Eolas for further details.
The Arts and Crafts shop closed its doors last Friday. Situated just off Main St., Bray in the Mamma Mia cafe complex, they provided a wide range of merchandise from hand-made bags to glass-work to small trinkets such as key-rings and the like. The quality of the products is what impresses when you first enter the shop. All-in-all, it was a great community-based project and we hope to see the like again in the near future. Many thanks to those involved for donating their time and effort.
On Friday 20th the Garden Team were lucky enough to visit the Dogs Trust complex in Finglas, a centre dedicated to finding new homes for stray and unwanted dogs. Despite only opening last November the centre has already found loving homes for over 800 dogs. The new owners are carefully checked and their homes visited to make sure the dogs only get the most suitable homes possible. All dogs are welcomed to the centre, be they young or old, sick or healthy, and importantly there is no time limit to how long a dog can stay at the centre.
We got to see many of the over 150 dogs currently onsite (including 20 puppies). We visited the state of the art veterinary clinic, living areas and walking pens (where the dogs really come to life). It was clear that each dogs welfare was the most important thing to everyone involved. We are extremely grateful to Jillian, our very enthusiastic and helpful guide. If you visit be sure to leave a donation as they rely entirely on public generosity to survive.
The Networking Childline BBQ was held in the Garden Team canteen on Thursday last, 19th August. Estimates of attendance vary wildly from 40 to over 200 people. A huge attendance despite the monsoon rain which fell. Fortunately wet hair and soggy burger buns weren’t enough to put off the many party goers. Thanks to all those who helped to make it a success and raised over €345!
A group of us from The Garden Team went on a tour organised by Glendalough Education Centre to take a look at the bats. It was held on Thursday 12th August and we were intrigued to discover that the little lodge house near the lake is home to over 396 bats in its attic.
At around 9.10pm they all flew out from a vent in the roof ridge one by one. These bats are known as the soprano pipistrelle bat which is as tiny as your little thumb. They flew out as fast as a sports car, flying along and swooping in the sky. We were told that it is a myth that bats can become tangled in your hair. Robert joked that it was like count Dracula in the trees.
We then walked into the forest and kept stopping with our guide who had a high frequency batometer sonar system which can read the bats echo-location sounds. When he turned this special radiometer on we could hear a constant clicking noise which was the bat making this noise to locate its insects that it was hunting. We also walked down to the river to listen out for the water bat and the long eared whisper bat. They like to swish and sway down into the river to catch the moths and insects that are attracted to the water.
After an interesting evening we headed back to Glendalough hostel to rest our weary heads after a fun bat filled event.
Some of the guys from Sunbeam will feature in an episode of Nationwide on RTE at 7pm this Friday, 13th August. The programme is in relation to supported employment. Should be a good show, make sure to check it out.
Last week the brand new stadium at Landsdowne Road was host to it’s first football match. The contenders were a mix of Irelands best homegrown players against none other than Manchester Utd. The Mancunians won with an impressive 7-1 victory, christening the new stadium in style.
Saturday 10th July the DCB advocacy group were invited to go to Áras an Uachtaráin for a Garden party hosted by President Mary Mc Aleese.
Artur drove the bus into the phoenix park and we parked at Rata house. We had to sign in and have our passports checked. We then got a coach over to the Aras. When we first seen the house it was amazing! Its really really big. Helen was gobsmaked!!! “it was like a palace” We went inside the house and joined the queue to meet the president. It was packed.
Marie was the first in and a woman introduced us all individually to the President. “She shook my hand and said hello, I told her she does a lot of hard work” Natasha thought she was lovely, a really nice woman.
We then went outside unfortunately it was raining but the staff in the Áras were well prepared and escorted us with umbrella’s to the tea rooms.
There was all sorts of different foods and lots of it! it was delicious. Then a solider announced that it was time to make our way to the Marquee as the President was making her speech. Thankfully the rain had eased then.
The president welcomed everyone one and spoke about how important community life is, to get to know the people in your community and how important community work is.
We had different entertainment then. A Brass band, opera singers, and a Trad band. After this we had a tour of the formal rooms of the house. We saw were the president would sign all the new bills of law and were the new Taoiseach’s are sworn in. It was a amazing day.
You are sitting having lunch at your kitchen table when a pigeon slams head-first into the window at full speed! The story sounds bizarre to say the least but this is exactly what happened, reports George Knaggs, one of Sunbeams Directors, a few weeks ago while sitting with his wife at the table. The pigeon in question promptly shook it off and flew away stunned but not without leaving a ghostly imprint on the glass.
‘We went in to the march in Dublin on Wednesday the 7th of July. There were thousands of people from all over Ireland assembled. We marched from O’ Connoll St. to the Government Buildings.
Liz McManus T.D. was there as was Enda Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore. We spoke to them about the proposed cutbacks in respite services and disability services.
Our rent has gone up and disability allowance gone down. Things are getting tougher, money-wise.
We are glad we went in to march. We went in to protest for us but also to represent Sunbeam and the people who couldn’t make it in. It brought the issue to national attention.
We heard on the television that they are not going to make the cuts now. We are shocked, actually, that they listened to us and we had an effect.
We hope this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.’
Here is another account of the day in question –
‘My name is Helen Donnelly. I am a client of Sunbeam House Services. On Wednesday the 7th of July, I marched from the Garden of Rememberance to Leinster House. I was protesting against any further cuts to Sunbeam House Services & other disabilities services.
We got a lot of support along the way. People were beeping horns & cheering us on. We carried a placard saying “no more cuts”.
I spoke to Enda Kenny, leader of Fine Gael, and Eamonn Gilmore, leader of the Labour Party. I spoke to them about concerns I have if our funding is cut again.
By protesting I was standing up for my rights. I was making my voice heard.
I hope the Government will listen.’
A presentation was made two weeks ago to Arklow town council highlighting the urgent need for safer pedestrian crossings in the town. Several service-users and staff were involved in trying to get change to happen. Check out the video…
Project; To Raise Disability Issues with Arklow Town Council
Aim; To improve accessibility for everyone in Arklow
Since January 2010 Cathy and Tara have been attending the new training programme based in Lower Main Street in Arklow.
An important aim of this programme is to build links with the local community, support people to develop their independence using local facilities, using banks, shops, cafes the library and leisure centres, gaining work experience in local businesses, enjoying voluntary work with Tidy Towns and Coast Care, and generally becoming independent active members of their community.
Two of the challenges facing the trainees are negotiating the main street, and the route to the Bridge Water shopping centre. The narrow footpaths are often obstructed by displays or signs outside shops. The high volume of traffic through the town is compounded by the lack of pedestrian crossings between the two main shopping areas. Access onto and off the bridge is very steep, and several footpaths have dishing on only one side of the street, leaving a person using a wheelchair stranded in the middle of the traffic because of the steep step on the far side of the street.
These challenges affect anyone who is not quick on their feet, like parents with small children, people with walking difficulties, or wheelchair users.
With these issues in mind, Cathy and Tara were supported to write to the Arklow Town Council, requesting a meeting with the traffic committee.
While waiting for a reply, Sunbeam Media worked with Cathy and Tara to produce a short film highlighting the main issues they wanted addressed.
On 17th June 2010 the Sub-Traffic Committee meeting of Arklow town Council was attended by the Mayor of Arklow, the town engineer and assistant engineer, several councillors, representatives of the traders and the Gardai, the town clerk, and the delegation from SHS; Cathy Macken, Tara Cawley , Gavin O’Reilly and Suzanne Bennett.
After our presentation, one councillor observed; “A picture paints a thousand words, and your film leaves us speechless” an unusual experience at a Town Council Meeting!
The outcome of the meeting was a promise from the county engineer that funding earmarked for Accessibility issues would be used to address the challenges we raised in Arklow town. When pressed for a time frame, we were assured that we would see improvements before the end of 2010.
When The Town Council keeps their promise, these improvements to Arklow will be a constant reminder of People Power.
Here is what two unit managers had to say about it…
“On the 28th of May 2010 Ros Mhuire hosted their first European Neighbours day. We put on a big spread of buns, biscuits, tea and coffee. Some neighbours came in for a cuppa and a chat. Neighbours day is not a well known event yet, but we hope to put it on the map.”
“We had one visitor from the factory and around 8 parents. The service-users really enjoyed the evening and the parents were very happy to see each other as they do not generally get to meet. Parents also enjoyed meeting the staff and putting a name to the messages left in the communication book.
We gave out the Sunbeam Times and unit brochures and had a general chat about activities in the future. The gentleman who came over from the factory was very interested in what we do here and had a chat with some of the parents and met the service-users.
I think that moving on from here we will set up an evening get together for the parents and service-users and this will allow everyone to meet up and discuss various items over a cup of tea.”
Well done to all our athletes that took part in the Olympics in Limerick last week. The events took place between 9th-13th June. We had 20 athletes representing Sunbeam in three disciplines including 5-a-side football, table tennis and athletics. They came back with ten gold, five silver, six bronze and six ribbons.
Pictured above is Ian with Packie Bonner lending his support to the event.