Artists message

My name is Lekha Bhaskaran. I am from India. I am living in Ireland since March 2006. I am a service-user in Bray. I like to make jewellery. I sell my jewellery in Sunbeam’s art and craft shop. The shop is called “Mo Lamha”. I work in the shop every Friday. I really enjoy it.

New Aviva Stadium

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.

A few of the members of the Garden Team got tickets for the night. This photo was taken by Michael Kirwan on his Iphone.

Presidential visit

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.

‘Pane’ in the Neck

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.

Protest march 07-07-10

Here, Betty and Donna write a short piece about their experience of the protest March in Dublin last week…

‘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.’

Arklow Pedestrian Access

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.

Neighbours Day

No!, not the famous Australian soap opera but the European Neighbours Day 2010.

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.

Miriam Murphy elected as Mayor of Arklow

Congratulations to Miriam Murphy from Arklow. Miriam was elected as an independent representative to the Arklow Urban Town Council just over one year ago. The outgoing
mayor nominated her to replace him and the remaining 8 Council members elected her. Miriam will be wearing the heavy chains of office as she represents the Town Council at a variety of events during the next year.

Olympic Athlete brings flame to Ballyraine

Congratulations to Paul Kenny, an Olympic athlete, who was the torch-bearer as the Olympic flame was brought to Ballyraine. The sun beat down on what was a beautiful day for the celebratory ceremony. More photos to follow shortly.

Disability Awareness workshops for community groups

The service users and staff at Eolas have put together a Disability Awareness Programme to be delivered to local and community groups.
The aims of the programme are:
• To raise awareness of disability issues in the wider population.
• To promote integration for people with I D
• To counteract some of the negative myths and misunderstandings surrounding people with disabilities .

The service users put a lot of work and thought into the programme. They came up with issues relating to their daily lives which they believed should be addressed including ….
• Access issues for physically disabled people and the concept of universal design.
• Harassment in the community and how to deal with it.
• Discrimination in areas such as employment ,education and relationships.

The format of the programme involves services users delivering a power point presentation on the positive aspects of their lives highlighting their achievements, goals and ambitions for the future. This is followed by a video made by Sunbeam Media focusing the ethos and activities of SHS and the supports it provides to service users. Finally the service users and their support staff will address an open question and answer session .

To date the group have delivered the programme to the staff and students of Wicklow VEC, leaving cert applied students from Kilcoole and a group of Wicklow County Councillors’

Feedback from all concerned has been extremely positive. Community groups have commented on how educational and interesting it was to meet and get to know the service users. Where as the service users who devised and delivered the programme said they gained confidence and skills from making the presentation.
We have now been asked to do a piece for East Coast Radio on the same themes.
In the future we hope to continue to deliver the programme to young people in schools and colleges and any other interested groups in the community.

Photo Competition on Display

The photo competition entries have all been mounted and hung in Bray Library on Eglinton Road. I have to say they look fantastic. Special thanks to Greg at ‘The Art of Framing’ for doing such a good job.
Also, thanks must go to our sponsors;

Hollands Fine Wines

Bray Cabs

Dickers Electrical

Liz-Ann’s coffee shop

Thanks, also, to Michael Noone, Ruth Doran and Denise Brennan for donating prizes and thanks to Bray Library for giving us the public space to display our photos.

Olympic Flame

The Olympic Torch will be coming to Ballyraine on June 2nd. It will take a route from Arklow town centre accompanied by a host of athletes at approx. noon, ending up in Ballyraine. Certainly an event not to be missed!

European Neighbours Day

Ros Mhuire, Glenvale and RT Unit (Main St. Arklow) are hosting a coffee morning on Friday, 28th May.
Tea, coffee and biscuits from 4.30pm-7pm.

European Neighbours Day is an initiative where you host something like a coffee morning to meet your neighbours and make more connections in your community. All welcome.

Gina runs a half-marathon!

Congratulations to Gina Wilkins who ran a half marathon in Wicklow on 22nd May 2010. Thats no mean feat. Well done Gina.

Photo Competition

The 5th annual photography competition is over and there were some very interesting photographs. The theme was ‘Who Am I?’ Above is a sample from the entries and all entries will be on view in Bray library in June. Congratulations to all those who took part, the judges from Signal Arts Centre were very impressed. They found it very hard to choose a winner.

National Spring Clean

All over Ireland people were encouraged to clear their local area via An Taisce and we cleared up the path on Vale Road which is directly outside of Ballyraine. All clients really enjoyed the day and we have sent the pictures up to the local paper. Above is some people from Glenvale taking part.

Job Shadow Initiative

Last week job seekers from Sunbeam House Services took part in the annual Job Shadow Initiative. This exciting event which is run throughout Ireland gives people with different abilities the opportunity to explore the world of work and to gain an understanding of the skills and education required to compete, develop and succeed in the workplace. This is the third year for this to take place and it has proved a huge success each year with nearly 500 job seekers taking part last year.

Connect Employment, a division of Sunbeam House Services, took the opportunity to support a number of job seekers and local employers to get involved. Connect Employment supports service users of Sunbeam House Services to access employment and since it was set up in 1988 it has grown rapidly and currently Connect Employment support over 180 people throughout Co. Wicklow to find, secure and maintain employment in the community.

People with different abilities gain empowerment from fulfilling a social role like having a job and can prove that they are a valued member of the community. The experience is also very positive for employers as they gain an employee who is eager to excel at their job, eager at all times to stretch their capabilities and eager to get on well with everyone they work with, as well as promoting their business as an inclusive workplace.

Owen Kavanagh of N. Kavanagh’s pub on Arklow main street provided Jason Dixon (Aughrim) with some valuable experience working in his bar. Jason, who has previous experience working in a bar, spent the morning serving customers and learning more about what’s involved in bar work.

Annette Doyle (Rathnew)spent the afternoon with Bernie Fortune in Brookside laundrette and found the experience very enjoyable. Bernie knows the value of hiring a person with a disability as she employs Elizabeth, also a service user at Sunbeam House Services, and has found her to be a very positive addition to the staff team.

Selina Whyte (Arklow)really enjoyed her work experience at Biltong meat company Thursday morning. The owner Lucas Swart talked her through the range of different products Biltong makes, the health and safety procedures, and she then had a go at making her own sausages from scratch. Selina proved herself to be very competent and learned a great deal.

Dean Gallagher (Bray) participated in the Job Shadow Initiative in a newly established pub called Stacks on the main street in Bray and has since been offered a position at their premises. Dean is delighted with the outcome.

Aisling Ellis (Kilmacanogue)gained some experience in David Martin’s Hairdressers, in Killincarrig. She proved that she was very competent at the tasks that she was asked to complete and really enjoyed the experience. The staff there, David, Edel and Clodagh, were really friendly and helpful and were very impressed by Aisling’s work.

Nathan Phillips (Bray) shadowed Gardai at Bray Garda Station while Conal Carney (Arklow) participated at Wicklow Garda Station. Both got on very well and enjoyed their experience.

Connect Employment would like to thank all employers and job seekers who helped make Job Shadow Initiative such a success.

EEVA2010 Entrepreneur video competition

Gabriel Phelan and Bernie O’ Toole through Sunbeam Media have entered a video competition with the European Commission.
The theme is Entrepreneurship – a Different Way of Life.
This video focuses on a person who has benefited from supported Employment and has grown in confidence in their careers to become an entrepreneur and follow their dreams. Thanks to Ger Murphy and all those involved. Good job everyone.

Photo Competition 2010

The Sunbeam Photo Competition is indeed open for 2010. This years theme is ‘WHO AM I?’
So, think self-portraits, think different sides to your personality, think characteristics, think masks you hide behind.
The closing date for submissions is April 30th 2010 and entry costs €5 which covers the cost of printing and mounting. All photos must be digital and sent in by CD or E-Mail, memory stick, etc.
This year we hope to make it a professional competition and to exhibit in the community. Prizes and venues to be announced.
Above is the winner of last years competition.