Almost 700 people joined together in a very special celebration at the St Patrick’s Centre in Kilkenny last Saturday, August 11.
Parents, friends, residents and staff turned out in glorious sunshine to celebrate the arrival of six new buses into the service of the centre. Bishop Seamus Freeman led the celebration and blessing of each minibus.
In his address, the bishop congratulated all involved in such a momentous achievement. He noted that despite all current funding challenges, everyone connected to St Patrick’s had done for themselves what was needed.
It is a clear sign of the Christian ethos of the Centre committed to enhancing the lives of people with an intellectual disability. The them of the celebration was one of thanksgiving for many blessings.
The board of directors is committed to constantly improving the experience of residents and sees in this action a key step in building closer links to and presence in the local community of Kilkenny .
General manager John Murphy thanked all the community groups who make residents welcome at their community events and the total dedication of family members over many years.
“The sign of a good service is the absolute commitment to challenge itself and to set new boundaries for what is possible,” he said.
“The absolute dedication of all staff, friends and families of St Patrick’s would only make this day possible.”
Deputy chair of Kilkenny County Council Maurice Shortall and Deputy Mayor John Coonan presented the keys of a minibus to staff and residents delegation from each house in the service. Deputy Coonan and Cllr Shorthall wished the very best to each house in St Patrick’s Service and looked forward to seeing residents of St Patrick’s much more visible in our community.
The day also included a vintage car display for the Kilkenny Motor Club and a celebration barbeque was held for the afternoon.
John O’Brien, manager of O’Brien’s Garage, and Ted Dunnigan of Primo Coachworks were in attendance. They conrgatulated all involved with the project and complimented St Patrick’s on the high quality of the conversion completed. All vehicles are wheelchair -accessible with lifts fitted. A unique folding seat system has been fitted for ease of wheelchair access.
The staff of St Patrick’s are delighted with their success and the ability of these vehicles to enhance the life of residents.
St Patrick’s has a very high support population, with all requiring significant support to participate in and engage with local community activities.
The staff of St Patrick’s are committed to supporting people access the good things in life, to make friends, to contribute, to access works and to direct their own life. St Patrick’s has a well established personal outcomes programme focused on individual planning for each person, creating personalised plan, family links and making appointments for social inclusion.
In his concluding remarks, Bishop Freeman wished every success to each resident of St Patrick’s and congratulated the St Patrick’s Partnership of residents, staff families and friends, as an inspiration to many communities in Kilkenny.
“Vulnerable people’s lives have been improved, great generosity and commitment has been shown,” he said.