Community Connections



"June had a special halo all   
 of  it's own"

The month of June is always a fantastic time for sports of all sorts.This year was no exception; in the GAA world Kerry were defending their All-Ireland football title against old rivals Cork, Mayo were travelling in hope to play Sligo at home in the 'Connacht', the Kilkenny hurlers were taking the first step in search of eternal glory in the 'Drive For Five' All-Irelands in a row and so on.
I was looking forward to all those as May ended but for me June had a special halo all of it's own this year with the great festival of SPECIAL OLYMPICS being staged in Limerick.  I made sure well in advance that I had a few days marked off in the diary in order to be present for as many of the events as possible.
And what an array of sports that were presented with plenty to enjoy in the many venues scattered about the ancient city ---athletics, swimming, gymnastics, bowling, horse riding, golf, football and much much more.
It was great to stand back at times and witness the fantastic team-work that enveloped competitors, trainers, supporters, officials, carers, entertainers, parents, stewards and even those who just happened to be passing by with an ambling gait.
I managed in the course of the few days to get around to a fair few of them but being a little partial to golf I think I lingered longer to witness the great show that was put on.  I had been to Ryder Cups, Open Championships, The Masters in Augusta and I had seen great champions crowned after sinking a final and vital putt.
I saw the same at this year's Special Olympics in Limerick when Coillte Mach's Paul Charlton became champion.  That medal meant as much to Paul and everyone present as any trophy or medal ever handed out to a golfer at the Home of Golf, the hallowed haven of St. Andrews in Scotland.
The same atmosphere floated over all other presentations.  It's the Magic of Special Olympics.
Micheal O' Muircheartaigh
Ready, Steady, Go 
"The volunteer experience I had with Special Olympics 2010 was a memorable one and one I will never forget.  I  volunteered with the Ridgepool Centre, Ballina following an information evening but little did I know then the fantastic experience I would have.
On the 9th of June I made the long journey from Mayo to Limerick with the Connaught athletes and volunteers.  When we arrived in Limerick we all got settled in and ready for the Opening Ceremony.  Thomond Pak was the venue and it was full to capacity with athletes, coaches, volunteers and family members.  The games began with a magnificent sky fest, it was amazing.
On the first day of the Games I was quite nervous.  I wanted to make sure the athletes I was assisting got to the right venue and on time.  I quickly mapped my way around the enormous campus.  It was during the day that the medal presentation happened and after a long day of sports and different events we were treated to "Craic agus Ceol".
Over the next two hectic days each athletic made their families and county very proud by bagging loads of medals. In particular, I was so proud of my brother Declan who ran his heart out in Limerick.  His silver medal is sitting in pride of place on the mantlepiece at home.  Declan enjoyed both the sporting and social aspects of the games.  He was the first and last on the dance floor.  Both Declan and I enjoyed having a familiar face in an unfamiliar setting.  I feel Declan relaxed more and performed better knowing I was there.  It was because of Declan I put my self forward to volunteer, he was a helping hand in providing me with this great opportunity.  After a tiring but extremely rewarding few days, we headed home to a Hero's Welcome.
From my experience with Special Olympics 2010 I have taken up further volunteering with the Ridgepool Centre, Ballina and the Soccer Development Programme in Ballina.  It was in all a brilliant and rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone.  I am already looking forward to the next Games".



Special Olympics 2010
 "At the beginning of the competition Kris's brothers were very nervous for him and overwhelmed by all the people they met. By the end of the first day we all felt part of a big family and gobsmacked as Kris cooly bagged his first gold medal.  For the next few days our lives were totaly wrapped up in the competitions. We cheered, shouted, cried and laughed  with people we had never met before,but felt we had known all our lives.
The pride and emotion we felt as a family as we watched Chris come into his own and receive 3 gold medals in his first outing with the Special Olympics was something that will always stay with us.  We can honestly say that the experience has taught us a lot and we hope that we will all be back again for the National Games". 
Annette Gilroy       
Western Care's Biggest Coffee Morning Ever - September 17th, 2010
Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation ran their annual national fundraising Coffee Morning in September and Western Care joined in the fundraising for such a worthy cause.  The Hospice Foundaton run a Palliative Care Service providing comfort, dignity and a better quality of life for patients and families living with life limiting illnesses.
Anthony Grealis, VTC supported by Lorraine Tiernan, VTC and Rose O'Connor, Head Office organised this year's fun event. Head Office held their Coffee Morning at 11 am and lots of staff baked goodies and everyone's diet went out the window!  Then the VTC held their event at 1.30 pm in the Day Centre and Anthony's family came along also.  Many parents and families also supported the fundraiser by sending in donations and home baking too and their support was greatly appreciated.  Anthony co-ordinated the two events and on the last count, as donations kept coming in days after it, the final total raised was 885!!  An amazing collection from a small but very generous bunch of people.  Anthony was delighted with everyone's support and is photographed handing over the Western Care cheque to Monica Brogan, Fundraising Manager of the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation.  Last year Anthony and his team raised 600.  With the success of this years event, Anthony hopes to do it all again in September 2011!  Well done Anthony and all involved.
Dance Classes
Marie Brennan has volunteered in the Beehive for over two years.  She teaches dancing classes in Ballina and after connecting with a staff in Beehive, she decided to teach people there about dancing.  Everyone enjoys the music, exercise, learning and the great sense of fun Marie brings to the centre every Tuesday morning.
My name is Mairead.
I live in Ballinrobe. In the last 6 years I have had an interest in Art and have done some landscape painting, with help and support. I attend Art classes in Ballinrobe Town. My teacher is Michelle, resident artist.  I go each Wednesday evening for my class. We work on a one-to-one basis and are getting on great.
My long-term goal is to have my own exhibition in an art gallery. I need to have 20 pieces of work for this exhibition and I am currently working to achieve this goal.
 For further details of how we support people in this way please see our Services & Supports section