Bluebird Care Donegal Backs Blood Bikes North West

Bluebird Care Donegal has come in behind the new Blood Bike North West charity. Bluebird Care is already main sponsors of Blood Bike West.

This week Marty Kelly, Director of Bluebird Care Donegal/Leitrim presented Blood Bikes North West with a cheque for €3,000 to purchase a Blood Bike.

The new service which will see blood and other medical products being transported from Letterkenny and Sligo Hospitals to Dublin Hospitals will be live in September.  The service is free to the HSE and has already been hailed a huge success in Galway.

Speaking this week Marty Kelly said Bluebird Care was “delighted to extend its relationship with Blood Bikes into the North West.”

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New Partnership with Special Olympics Ireland

Who remembers 2003 when the Special Olympics World Games were held in Ireland. We all hosted a “Host Town” from exotic places and the country got behind one of Ireland’s most loved charities.

Well 10 years on and Special Olympics Ireland are hoping to revive memories, recruit more volunteers and embark on a new fundraising campaign.

So Bluebird Care will launch a new partnership with Special Olympics Ireland next month with more details in our June ezine.

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New Recipe Book Cooking

A new recipe book published by Bluebird Care and written by award winning chef Gary O’Hanlon is currently in the pipeline.

The publication will be available later this year and will also come with podcasts of demonstrations by Gary for online sharing.

Speaking this week Gary says, “This publication will help older people, carers and family members prepare healthy, nutritious and mouth-watering food.  The sections include:

Top Tips for Beginners, Sneaky Shortcuts, Cooking for One, Breakfast, Easy Snacks, Making Leftovers Tasty, Freezer Friendly, Soups, Breads and Treats and Bulk Recipes.”

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Accessibility is Everyone’s Business

In this month’s column we hear from Social Innovator and Wheelchairtaxi.ie founder Stephen Cluskey. Bluebird Care has teamed up with Stephen to raise awareness of, and help increase capacity for, accessible transport in Ireland.

Stephen Cluskey profile photo

By Stephen Cluskey, founder of Wheelchairtaxi.ie

Have you ever struggled to find wheelchair accessible transport?

This is a major problem not just in Ireland but worldwide and something that I am determined to change. I am a wheelchair user myself since I was injured just over 10 years ago and have always had problems trying to find suitable transport.

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In 2012 I established Wheelchairtaxi.ie with the aim of solving this problem. The site is a ‘one-stop shop’ which brings all forms of wheelchair accessible transport together in one place.

This includes taxis, car hire, minibus hire, coach hire, community transport schemes and wheelchair accessible boats. We have been in operation since last September growing steadily and are already the number one used resource in Ireland for all forms of wheelchair accessible transport.

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The site was only live one month and we were nominated for an Eircom spider award in Ireland’s best listings category against heavy hitters like myhome.ie and mydealpage which was a great privilege.

We are also associated with great organisations like the Irish Wheelchair Association, Spinal Injuries Ireland and the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland to name but a few. Bluebird care recognised early on the very real positive impact that this social enterprise will have on people’s lives and communities all over Ireland and have been excellent in their support.

With their backing we hope to develop the mobile phone application to complement the site giving users the ability to find suitable transport on the go and this is essential for increasing our impact.

Many disabled people have limited finger dexterity so a simple to use app will also help in this regard. We hope for a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Bluebird care who already provide great services for disabled people and this could be seen as an extension of that.

Wheelchairtaxi.ie has been working hard on the advocacy side of things also over the past few months and this will continue for the foreseeable future. We are looking to boost wheelchair taxi numbers in Ireland and reverse the trend that has seen countless drivers and vehicles drop out of the industry.

The main problems include the price of entry into the market with a wheelchair accessible taxi costing in the region of €50,000, the cost of bringing a vehicle up to new European regulations, the lack of standards and training in the industry and some drivers not taking wheelchair passengers.

We have some very viable solutions to these problems and hope that the government will take many, if not all of them on board. Lots of challenges ahead but we will continue to try to ‘drive social change’.

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