Kerry Parents & Friends participants showcase their Independent Life

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The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015-2017 is funded by the Irish Government and co-funded by the European Social Fund and includes a special allocation under the Youth Employment Initiative

A large group of family and friends attended the launch of “An Independent Life”, a DVD showcasing the daily activities of a group of young adults who are supported by the Kerry Parents & Friends Association in Killarney recently. The DVD was produced by Tadhg Hayes and funded by South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. through the SICAP programme.

The 20 minute DVD gives a snapshot into the lives of the young adult participants including their involvement in the work, home and social settings. It is planned to make it widely available in the coming weeks.

Instructor with the KPFA Batt Healy said they wanted to make the DVD to highlight that people with disabilities have the same yearnings around independent living and relationships as everyone else and to showcase their capacity in both working and life situations. “This DVD will help us send out the message that these young adults have the same rights and desires as their peers and we have received a very positive response to this message” Batt said. He said that approximately 25 of the young adults they support are actively engaged in paid employment, work experience or voluntary work and this helps them achieve greater levels of independence.

One of the participants Anthony Jones, who is the longest serving staff member in McDonalds in Killarney having worked there two days a week for 14 years, said really enjoyed being involved with the DVD. “It is something I would love everyone to see” Anthony said.

Another participant Stephen Brosnan said that it gives them a chance to show employers their skills. He also works in both Heatons and Elverys Sports in Killarney. “I also wanted it to show how relationships and friendships are important to me and that my job and the pay helps me to be independent” Stephen said.

SKPD CEO Noel Spillane said the organisation was delighted to fund this project under SICAP and said that the key goal of SICAP is to promote inclusion. “This DVD highlights the ability of the participants rather than their disability and provides them with a voice to articulate their aspirations and wishes” Noel said. He added that the project was a real example of inclusion.

DVD producer Tadhg Hayes said he was delighted to work on the project and chose to make it in such a way as to provide the participants with a voice to show the wide range of activities they are involved in as well as some of the challenges they face. “The KFPA staff undertake excellent work and the businesses who employ these young adults also contribute very strongly but also receive positive benefits which I felt it was important to highlight” Tadhg said.

Mairead O’Sullivan, Education & Training Officer with SKDP said that this project also recognises the energy and willingness of the staff of KPFA to enable the young adults they work with to have choices in their lives like everyone else. She also paid tribute to Tadhg Hayes for his work and commitment in producing the DVD on a shoestring budget. “This DVD is a very strong tool for these young adults to showcase their skills and voice their choices” Mairead said.

Copies of the DVD are available from KPFA or can be accessed through Youtube through the link .