Croí & Bluebird Care, Patient Education Partnership

Education at the heart of stroke and heart disease prevention

Bluebird Care Supports Croí

The efforts of heart and stroke charity Croí in preventing death or disability from heart attack and stroke have received a welcome boost this week by way of a generous donation from local home care company Bluebird Care who have become a Croí Patient Education Partner for the coming year. The partnership aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes in the West of Ireland through patient education and awareness initiatives which will educate people on the risk factors for heart disease and stroke and signpost them to a healthier and longer life.

Managing Director of Bluebird Care in Galway, Sean Lyons says that losing his father to a heart attack at a young age gives him a greater appreciation for the work of Croí.

“I believe that if Croí was around when my father suffered his heart attack, he might probably be alive today. The services provided by the charity are invaluable not just in terms of after-care but also in terms of preventive education. The patient education programmes and activities which are being invested in by Bluebird Care aim to save lives and we are very proud to be part of it.”

Speaking at a reception in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre, Croí CEO Neil Johnson said “support from local companies like Bluebird Care is vital for the continuation of our work as we rely totally on sponsorship partnerships such as this. We are delighted to receive this very welcome support from Bluebird Care whose work has synergies with the key messages we are trying to convey to those living with heart disease or stroke” 

Johnson went on to say that “the work being undertaken at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre aimed at risk factor reduction and supporting lifestyle and behaviour change is yielding measurable health benefits. The results being achieved have been independently verified as improving cardiovascular health and wellbeing with the added benefit of being cost saving to the health service”

Croí & Bluebird Care - Stroke and heart disease prevention

Signing of 2017 Croí & Bluebird Care, Patient Education Partnership: Neil Johnson, CEO, Croí
Sean Lyons, Managing Director, Bluebird Care
Joe Kavanagh, Corporate Relations, Croí

Galway man Malachy Matthews who has taken part in one of Croí’s education programmes says it has ‘transformed’ his life. Malachy who had a mini stroke says it could be explained by a lifetime of not looking after himself that just caught up with him.

“I had effectively been loading my gun for many years, smoking, drinking and eating what I wanted without taking regular exercise and that day, my luck ran out. Attending Croí’s MyAction programme was life-changing, just as life-changing as the day I had my stroke.

“They re-calibrated my thinking about my own health and lifestyle, they educated me, but most of all they empowered me. I got great advice and help from a medical nurse, dietician and physiotherapist and they looked at all aspects of my loaded gun. I cannot thank them enough.”

Watch Malachy Matthew’s story

Watch Croí & Bluebird Care collaborate

Stephen Cluskey Gives Rugby Stars A Wheelchair Challenge

Stephen Cluskey of will give a number of Irish rugby stars a challenge they won’t forget. The social entrepreneur who campaigns for better travel access for people with disabilities will feature in a programme he developed and which will be aired on TV3 this Friday night October 9th at 10.30pm. Bluebird Care are a proud supporter of


Rugby’s Wheelchair Challenge asks some of Ireland’s top rugby players to sit into a wheelchair and experience first hand the everyday experiences, frustrations and challenges of being physically disabled in Ireland. Four rugby heroes will be asked to make their way from Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to Limerick’s Thomond Park while in a wheelchair. Irish vice captain Jamie Heaslip, Munster’s full back Felix Jones and former Ireland legends Shane Byrne and David Wallace attempt to use buses, trains and taxis – as well as pure muscle – to journey on a road less travelled.

What will happen when these elite athletes are stripped of their physical prowess and challenged to experience the sobering reality of those who live in a wheelchair every single day?

Big thanks to Loosehorse Productions for putting together a brilliant show.

– See more at: 

WATCH: Active Retirement Ireland Trade & Tourism Show Highlights

We were delighted to partner with Active Retirement Ireland  on their 2015 Trade and Tourism Show which took place on May 26th in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway. This event attracts 2,500 people in just one day and provides a great opportunity for ARI members to network, enjoy hands-on workshops and see what deals companies are offering.

We had our own videographer there to capture the atmosphere and below you will get to see for yourself what all the excitement is about. Well done to everyone at ARI for organising yet another fantastic event.

Thanks to Cormac, our videographer to catching a few words with the fabulous Ann Doyle too!

Cormac Staunton of Staunton Media captures Anne Doyle at the 2015 Active Retirement Ireland Trade and Tourism Show.

Cormac Staunton of Staunton Media captures Anne Doyle at the 2015 Active Retirement Ireland Trade and Tourism Show.


In Conversation with Stephen Cluskey: Founder of

In this blog post we talk to entrepreneur Stephen Cluskey the founder of which has just launched. Stephen has partnered with Bluebird Care on a range of initiatives and we are delighted to support his latest venture which pushes the boundaries of social change.

What is is a web and mobile-based search facility to quickly and easily source all forms of wheelchair accessible travel including transport, hotels and tourist attractions. We are looking to raise standards, promote independence and ‘Push Social Change’.


Who is it aimed at?

Anyone who needs accessible transport and travel.

This includes wheelchair users, their families, friends and wider social circle as well as care homes, nursing homes, hospitals and related organisations.

What was your motivation for setting up the website?

The website began initially due to a bad personal experience with trying to get a wheelchair accessible taxi but the idea has grown enormously since.

We work on both the business as well as the advocacy side of things. Our advocacy goals aim to put substantially more wheelchair accessible taxis on Irish roads as taxis are the only real public door to door transport system we have and a necessity for equal access. Since tackling this issue, we have had some notable successes in having an impact but the work has only just begun. is the evolution of and we have expanded our services into a more complete wheelchair travel site covering hotels and tourist attractions as well as transport. We want to see a world which is accessible to everyone, regardless of your situation.

How receptive are transport providers and Government and other stakeholders to you big vision?

We have a very good working relationship with our transport providers. They are delighted as they get extra work from the site and it’s free for them to sign up. Users love our service as it gives them access to a whole host of different travel options providing choice and variety which they never had before. Users can leave feedback on a driver or attraction and see feedback from others for peace of mind. Venues and tourist attractions love our service as it provides them with a solution for disabled customers to get to their venue as well providing their customers with somewhere to stay that is wheelchair accessible.

The government have been very accommodating to our ideas and implemented 6 key regulation changes in the latest taxi regulation bill because of our input. We helped to introduce the million euro grant scheme for upgrading to a wheelchair accessible taxi last year and that had a really good impact on numbers. The National Transport Authority are running the scheme again this year and we would hope to see even more wheelchair taxis on Irish roads because of it. We have wheelchair taxis at the forefront of the agenda for most monthly taxi meetings with the government and will continue to do so.

Why did you choose Bluebird Care as a corporate partner on this project?

Bluebird Care have supported us from the beginning and been an invaluable asset in helping us to ‘Push Social Change’. We were impressed with their knowledge and understanding about accessible transport and travel issues for disabled people. Their ethos is about supporting inclusion which fits in perfectly with our goals and ambitions so we are very fortunate to have them as a corporate partner.

Who else can get involved in the website and how?

There are lots of opportunities to get involved in the site at various levels and the more help we have, the more we can ‘Push Social Change’.

We have one opening left for a premium partner so if you are a business looking to showcase your wares then drop us a line. We work with many charities also and have official partnerships available for disability related charities.

Feedback is always important and we are continuously looking for innovative ways to improve our service. If you have any suggestions on how we could do this then please get in touch.

Our blog features quite heavily on the site covering all aspects of disability related topics which get extensive coverage through our social media channels. We are constantly looking for interesting articles from a personal perspective so if you have something you would like covered or would be interested in being a guest writer then let us know.

How can we all help promote the site?

Firstly, tell everyone!

Then, if you know a driver with wheelchair transport or a really great (fully accessible) attraction let them know about our service and encourage them to sign up. Inform your local nursing home, hospital or related organisation that our service exists as it can help so many people who already feel isolated in their communities.

Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @goaccessible for regular updates about disability issues, many with a touch of light-heartedness.

Interact with us through social media. Our users are the lifeblood of this organisation so let’s get communicating. The more we discuss disability issues, the more normalised and part of an integrated society these issues will become. Leave comments on our page, send us private messages, tweet us or use any number of different ways to interact but do get in touch!

Any other comments?

We are involved with a number of different exciting projects over the coming months which we believe can have a big impact in time in the world of accessible travel (although we can’t give away too much at the moment) but keep an eye out.

Lack of driver training on how to properly restrain a wheelchair has been a serious issue in Ireland for a long time and as part of the taxi grant system, we helped make this mandatory. We have also just completed 2 training videos showing drivers how to properly tie down a wheelchair in a taxi or home vehicle so check them out on Youtube and share.

Delighted to announce we have made the final 12 in the Social Entrepreneurs of Ireland competition so fingers crossed for the next month or 2 as we try to progress further!

We are so passionate about disability and travel issues and want to have as big an impact as possible not just in Ireland but globally so please keep spreading the word about