Just €1.75 million left to raise for life-changing centre

As Enable Ireland’s Life With No Limits campaign continues, CHRIS DUNNE talks to a family who use the service and one of the longest running volunteers
Just €1.75 million left to raise for life-changing centre
Pictured at the launch of Red FM's 30 Day Challenge Mission in aid of the Life with No Limits campaign, were the Sommers Family from Rathcormac; Rian, Calum with their parents; Fergal and Martina. Picture: Donagh Glavin

THE people and businesses of Cork show no limits when it comes to supporting Enable Ireland,.

Founded in 1954, it provides a free services to children and adults with disabilities and their families.

“Every year, our national fundraising campaign, Life with No Limits, is very well supported,” says Sinead O’Keeffe, Partnership and Philanthropy Manager.

Life with No Limits Week got underway yesterday and continues until September 22.

“It gives people a chance to highlight their fundraising efforts and highlight the fact that we currently provide vital therapies and rehabilitation services to over 670 children and their families,” says Sinead.

“The campaign provides a platform through media and social media for children and adults with disabilities to talk about using Enable Ireland services, to talk about how they live their lives with No Limits while raising much-needed funds to support our work.”

Over the years, the centre at Ballintemple was re-developed, renovated and extended. Now a new €7.5 million state of the art centre is to be opened at the former seven acre site of the former ESB social club at Curraheen.

“The new centre is planned to open next year,” says Sinead.

“The project, with the needs of the children in mind, and working with the whole family unit inclusively, is in a critical stage of development.

“We have €1.75 million left to raise. Life With No Limits Week is an opportunity to get on board with Enable Ireland and enter into the fun, and at the same time, support, this brand new operational facility that will provide therapy and support services to children with disabilities and their families.”

The new centre at Curraheen will house a hydrotherapy pool, sensory and designated therapy rooms, a children’s respite house, where children can develop their independence skills enabling their families to take a break. The range of specialist skills include FEDS (feeding, eating, drinking and swallowing), assistive technology, spasticity and tone management, an upper limbs assessment clinic, Cork/Kerry orthopaedic clinic, hip and spinal surveillance and casting.

The month of September can serve as a time for new resolutions that were put on the long finger before.

“Exactly,” says Sinead. “There are lots of ways to raise funds for our campaign. And perhaps re-visit resolutions we didn’t keep!”

There are many options.

“Perhaps you might go for a run every morning during September, or you might decide to de-clutter that spare room,” says Sinead.

“Calling to an elderly neighbour is a great gesture that will be much appreciated. For every task carried, out, donate a euro to Enable Ireland, getting on board to help get our new facility up and running.”

Enable Ireland’s new neighbours, Red FM, are game ball.

“Each of the five RED FM presenters are being given a challenge, Mission Enable, for the month of September.”

What will their challenges be; should they choose to accept them? “All will be revealed on air soon,” says Sinead.

People can support Enable Ireland by Giving Up Clothes for Good, with TK Maxx. Unwanted clothes, accessories and quality homeware can be resold in Enable Ireland shops, raising €20 a bag. You can buy a wrist-band, a handy trolley disc or a fluffy bookmark from TK Maxx or from volunteer sellers nationwide. A donation can also be made online.

“There are loads of novel ideas suggested by the public,” says Sinead. “Coffee mornings, corporate activities, walks, and other get-togethers make Life with No Limits Week really social for people. It is a really positive campaign and everyone can have great fun with it.”

At the launch of Red FM's 30 Day Challenge Mission at the Red FM studio at Curraheen are; Niall Horgan, Director of Services Enable Ireland Cork, with Rian and Calum Sommers from Rathcormac and Red FM DJ Dave Mac. Photo: Donagh Glavin
At the launch of Red FM's 30 Day Challenge Mission at the Red FM studio at Curraheen are; Niall Horgan, Director of Services Enable Ireland Cork, with Rian and Calum Sommers from Rathcormac and Red FM DJ Dave Mac. Photo: Donagh Glavin


Rían Somers, aged three, from Rathcormac, loves having fun. He is a service user with Enable Ireland.

“He really enjoys going to pre-school and swimming in the hydrotherapy pool,” says his dad, Fergal.

He enjoys cheering for mum too.

“Yes, Martina was playing in the Ladies’ Football final last year,” says Fergal.

“Rían loves sport and he was in Croke Park twice. He was at the Cork-Limerick hurling semi-final and the Under 21s game.

“He watches sport on the TV and he knows the names of all the players, the rugby players too,” says Fergal.

“Bride Rovers is our local GAA team and Rían is a great supporter.”

Like his nine-year-old brother Callum, Rían has good taste in music.

Fergal smiles. “There are pianos and accordions and all sorts of musical instruments at home,” he says. “Rían loves music. He likes the Dubliners, Nathan Carter, and the Bee Gees.”

Music is in Rían’s genes. “Martina’s dad was lead singer with the show band, The Zodiacs,” says Fergal. Rían is reaching his personal goals at Enable Ireland.

“Rían attends Enable Ireland three or four times a week since he was small. He was born with Spina Bifida and he is a wheelchair user. All his care is directed from Enable Ireland,” says Fergal.

“Rían receives physiotherapy and occupational therapy at the centre. We’d be lost without it. We can get to the centre from home in 20 minutes.

“Rian will have the specialist care and services provided by Enable Ireland until he is 18. Enable Ireland manage Rían’s development.”

The family are excited about the new Enable Ireland facility at Curraheen.

“We drove by the new site and the kids saw the location,” says Fergal.

“It will be a fantastic purpose-built facility for generations to come. There are two other families in Rathcormac who are service users. They are very supportive of the new centre as well.”

What have the Somers family planned for September in support of Enable Ireland?

“We might get sponsored for 30 days,” says Fergal. “We’ll come up with something I’m sure. Calling to an elderly neighbour is a really nice idea.”


Anne Hegarty, from Sundays Well, Cork, has been a volunteer with, and a supporter of Enable Ireland for 25 years.

“A neighbour asked me to help out many, many years ago,” says Anne, who has four children and nine grandchildren. “And I never looked back since then. I’ve always been involved with Enable Ireland and the wonderful work that they do. I could see the positive results from the work done with all the children.

“It has made such a difference to the children’s lives, especially those who were wheelchair users.”

Anne recognises that the potential of children can be maximised when they have access to vital services.

“Volunteering with Enable Ireland was my way of giving back,” says Anne. “I always found it very rewarding and I had a lot of fun too!”

Anne had notions of retiring.

“I was going to retire last year,” she says. “I think I’m the longest person with Enable Ireland. But now that the new build is well on its way; I’ll see it through. The whole project is very exciting for me. It is like a dream come true.”

Anne’s generosity is appreciated by Enable Ireland.

“Anne is a living legend,” says Niall Hogan, Director of Services.


Enable Ireland have services in Ballintemple, Little Island, Blackrock and Ladysbridge, and offer a wide range of services for children and adult service users with physical disabilities. The interdisciplinary teams working with children and their families offer assessments, early years intervention and education, training and support services. Also, child and adolescent services and respite for children with primary physical disabilities who need ongoing team-based intervention.

Phone: 021-4294803 Email:info.cork@enableireland.ie


You can donate to the new children’s centre at www.enableireland.ie/donate or by texting ‘Corkness’ to 50300 (Text costs €4. Enable Ireland Cork will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278)

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