Friday, October 22, 2010

Billionaire in Ireland gives funding so disabled people can live in the community

From The Independent in Ireland. In the picture, Disability worker Martin Naughton with Tania Byrne, who recently moved into her own apartment after 12 years in residential care.

Tania Byrne is relishing the joy of turning the key in her own front door after 12 years living in residential care in a home for people with an intellectual disability.

For the first time in her life Tania (35), now has her own apartment, and has the independence to come and go as she wishes and also the option to decorate her home to her own taste.

She is among 100 people with a physical or intellectual disability whose lives have been changed thanks to a combination of funding from the State and from the philanthropist Chuck Feeney's Atlantic Philanthropies.

The Genio Trust, with a budget of €3.4m, financially supports a range of services tailored to the needs of the person with a disability.

"I spent 12 years at the Good Counsel home in Ballyboden in Dublin, but I have my own apartment for the last five years and it's great," Tania said at the launch of 50 grants from the organisation yesterday.

"I have set up the apartment the way I want it, and have support from Sarah from the home on how to pay bills and shop.

"I can do as I please, but still have the support of the home. I had a meeting with the manager yesterday and now I can stay in the apartment five nights a week. It's brilliant."

Genio Trust executive director Madeleine Clarke said the Government provided €3m last year. This was matched by €665,000 from Atlantic Philanthropies.

The €3m state funding -- allocated in the Budget last year -- must be matched by the same amount this time around in order to ensure the good work continues.

Speaking at the launch, junior Health Minister John Moloney said the Government was looking at how funding for the disability sector was distributed to allow people more autonomy and choice.