It has become a regular feature of Irish life to see people in leisure gear exercising on free outdoor gym equipment that has been installed in parks and other public places around the country.
If you’re a person who uses a wheelchair however, you may not be able to enjoy the benefits of these facilities unless there is accessible equipment provided for people with disabilities, which has not been the case up to now in Carlow.
The Irish Wheelchair Association provides resource and outreach services to over 70 service users in the Carlow area, and it wanted to remedy the situation. Everything it does is driven by its vision of an Ireland where people with disabilities can enjoy equal rights, choices and opportunities and live their lives independently.
The organisation relies on funding opportunities to assist in developing additional services and supports for people with physical disabilities in their own homes and communities.
According to Marion Dowling, IWA Service Co-coordinator Carlow, National Lottery funding for good causes was sought to provide an outdoor accessible gym in Carlow, so its members could enjoy a fitness workout in a fully accessible and inclusive environment.
It received €10,000 in 2016 to provide the gym, and was installed this year at IWA’s Carlow Resource and Outreach Centre on the Kilkenny Road.
Marion is delighted about it and says that it will give local people with physical disabilities the opportunity to exercise and keep fit. “There will be a health benefit as well as a social benefit to people who use our services and the wider community network,” she says.
“It will also be useful to other local community and voluntary groups, as it will provide a social hub for people to meet and improve their health and well-being while interacting socially.”
For more information on the work carried out by the Irish Wheelchair Association visit www.iwa.ie