“North West Parents and Friends Association is a voluntary Organisation providing person centred services for children and adults with special needs and their families”.
Today, in the North West of Ireland, there are day-care and pre-school services, community group homes, special schools, vocational training units and sheltered workshops for people with intellectual disabilities/special needs. These excellent facilities exist mainly because of the dedication of the North West
Parents and Friends Association back in the 1960′s.
In 1963, the Association was spurred on by the vision of one courageous young Sligo mother who refused to take “No” for an answer, when she desperately sought help for
her son with special needs. In that year, a small group of parents’ of children with special needs and a few supporters came together armed with little more than hope and the will to work. They formed the first ”North West Association of Parents and Friends, and began by providing voluntary assistance for the Sisters of La Sagesse, in their work for people with intellectual disabilities/special needs at Cregg House,Sligo.
In the most appropriate setting, and within the framework of regular evaluation, to achieve for each individual person the highest possible level of health and social gain, from the best use of the resources that are available to the Association.
- To actively promote services where all children and adults are given the opportunity and the right to grow and develop.
- To ensure that all children and adults have the right to live in an environment and an atmosphere that maximises their progress towards independent living.
- That all services are provided in the least restrictive environment, based on personal choice and need, and managed with an overall goal of achieving for each individual the greatest possible outcome within the resources available.
- To enable underStanding by all Staff of North West Parents and Friends Association to offer respect, dignity love, kindness and advocacy.
- To strive to promote at all times the dignity, well being, health, happiness, and educational opportunities to all people in our care.
- In fulfilling this role, the North West Parents and Friends Association depend on the support and shared commitment of the parents, the local community and the Health Service Executive.
North West Parents and Friends Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability limited was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee without a share capital, under the Companies Act 1963. The company’s Memorandum of Association (section6) limits the liability of each member to such amounts as may be
required but not exceeding €I each.
North West Parents and Friends are governed by a Board of Directors. Company law requires the Directors to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and of the profit or loss of the company for that year.
Although a large portion of our funding is received from the Department of Education and Science and The Health Service Executive, we must find additional funding ourselves to continue improving the quality of life of our service users, which is why your support is so essential. We have a number of very active branches
in Tireragh, Carrick-on-Shannon and Manorhamilton. Each Branch is autonomous and contributes largely to the social activities of its community. It is also available to supply information to parents and provide a forum for discussion on where they can get proper advice and guidance in regard to their problems.
Innovative Step forward
The Association, in 1967, was convinced that life for the individual with an intellectual disability should be as normal as possible. To achieve this aim, and despite reservations expressed by others, it was decided to take a bold, innovative step forward, and construct two chalets, with accommodation in each for eight to ten adults and
a House Parent, thus providing family type accommodation for the girls who had started working in Cregg House.
The Association decided to assist the Sisters of La Sagesse and took responsibility for the construction of two chalets and the access road. These were completed in 1970. They were the first of their kind in Ireland, and proved so tremendously successful that work then started in 1970 on eleven additional bungalows, which when
finished would cater for children approaching adulthood. Of the £ 14,550 spent by the Association on the chalets and the approach road, a grant of £6,500 was eventually received from the Department of Health.