The Ballinasloe Advocates

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The Ballinasloe Advocates are a voluntary support group for peopleand families of people with developmental and learning difficulties. The main objective of the group is to provide support to parents and siblings of people with special needs in the Ballinasloe area. The group primarily consist of parents, who have over the years endeavoured to create awareness, understanding and information to help enhance the lives of these vulnerable people in the Ballinasloe region.

While the group has endured much upheaval, they have worked together in a spirit of conviction and dedication in providing service users with a pathway to improvement in all areas over the last twenty years. Many times the group has been a ‘shoulder to cry on’, especially for young parents who find themselves in what can be a life-changing experience. Through many fundraising events, the Ballinasloe Advocates have succeeded in funding additional respite services, a Special Olympics Group, wheelchair-accessible transport and the Deerpark Drama and Art Group.

Objectives
  • To provide training and education for people with special needs while promoting their welfare;
  • To establish, maintain and promote community awareness;
  • To exchange information between organisations, professionals or individuals where such interchange is deemed conducive to the attainment of our objectives;
  • To identify and publicise the need for services for people with special needs;
  • To offer a supportive and empathetic environment to parents who are experiencing difficulty in adapting to family life with a special needs child;
  • To encourage young parents to take an active involvement in the promotion and continuation of the aims and aspirations of the Ballinasloe advocates into the future;
Recent Activities

The group has fundraised for various initiatives, helped to facilitate short trips for service users and raised money for gear for local people taking part in the Special Olympics. The Ballinasloe Advocates have met with both current Disability Minister John Moloney TD and Minister Moloney’s predecessor Jimmy Devins TD. The group’s most recent meeting with Minister John Moloney was in December 2008 in Leinster House. The meeting coincided with the opening of two new units in Ballinasloe for people with an intellectual disability. These units were first announced in March 2003 and the Ballinasloe Advocates lobbied for five years before the realisation of that government promise. The units are a high-support unit and an activation and resource center which will provide a day service for people with an intellectual disability working in the community. The Ballinasloe Advocates were recognised for their many achievements last year when they were nominated for the Mayor’s Award in Ballinasloe.

Membership to the Ballinasloe Advocates is free. For more information, email ballinasloeadvocates@eircom.net, or contact Siobhán at Inclusion Ireland for the Group’s contact telephone numbers.

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