WHEN Amy Begley takes to the stage of Cork City Hall to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Cope, her mum Jenny will be foremost in her thoughts.
The 23-year-old from Newmarket in North Cork has been supported by Cope since she was 14 years old and has been chosen to tell the audience what the organisation is all about at the celebration on November 14.
An accomplished artist, Jenny has studied Level 5 and 6 cartoon animation for three years at the city’s St John’s College and is due to graduate mid-November in Level 6 illustration.
She is currently interning in You Print in Mallow and says none of it would have been possible without the help of Cope and her mum who passed way nine years ago from cancer.
“My mum encouraged me to start drawing when I was around five but I only got good at it when I was seven — mum really encouraged me to explore my potential. But when she died, I was obviously grieving and took a step back from it,” explained Amy.
It was only after she did her Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) while at Cope’s St Bernadette’s and then moved on to Cope’s Doras Centre, that she had a desire to start again and hasn’t looked back since.
“While I was with Doras, I applied and was accepted at St John’s. I would have been lost without the support of Doras — I have a learning disability and have difficulty putting things on paper and they really helped me with things like written assignments,” said Amy.
Her dream is to work with Oscar nominated Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny — she says animation gives her ‘goosebumps’ — but in the meantime she’s busy working in YouPrint where she says she’s getting great experience in everything from dealing with customers, meeting deadlines, and designing keyrings, to leaflets and mugs among other things.
“I’m really honoured to have been asked to speak at the concert — I’m looking forward to it,” said Amy, whose younger brother Timmy, dad Donal and partner Hannes will be in the audience to cheer her on.
The show — Cheers to 60 Years — is open to the public and will be a celebration of the history of Cope Foundation, the work of the organisation and the people who continue to make Cope Foundation such a special place.
It will tell the organisation’s story through music, drama, poetry, dance and conversation.
Together with the people it supports, including Amy, staff, volunteers, family, well known Cork personalities and community groups, the show will reflect on Cope Foundation’s past, celebrate its present and look towards the future.
Sean Abbott, Chief Executive said: “60 years is a major milestone to reach and we are very proud of how Cope Foundation has evolved in that time. At the core of everything we do is the people we support and this show is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate these people, their talents and their outstanding achievements.
“Cope Foundation is part of the fabric of Cork and we’re delighted to be joined by some well-known Cork personalities who will help to tell our 60 year story on the night. The show will be an entertaining display of the amazing work being done at Cope Foundation and our role in the Cork community.”
Acclaimed actor and vocalist Michael Sands will narrate the show and throughout the evening he will be joined on stage by well-known Cork personalities including athlete Rob Heffernan, actor Ciarán Birmingham, singer Ger Wolfe and poet Theo Dorgan.
Cope Foundation’s Department of Arts and Creative Arts Therapies (ACT) who are leading this event will bring together a carnival of performances showcasing the diversity of Cope Foundation’s community partnerships.
Suisha Inclusive Arts partnership with Cork Mental Health Services will bring the Gamelan to life and will feature singer/songwriter Ger Wolfe.
And among lots of other acts, John Spillane will join students from Scoil Bernadette for a special song, while Cork Music Group, Music Mash Up will perform various pieces, including their very own newly released single.
Elmarie Mawe of 96fm and Pat Kinevane will share a few stories about the various local national and international projects that Cope Foundation are involved in and CADA Performing Arts will close the night in style.
Sean says the 60th anniversary is a unique opportunity to celebrate the Cope Foundation Family and to reflect on the milestones of the organisation which has ouched so many families and become an integral part of Cork lives, community groups and society.
Tickets for the Anniversary Show cost €12 and can be purchased online on www.copefoundation.eventbrite.ie or by phoning 021 4643326.
ESTABLISHED in 1957 in response to the Cork Polio Epidemic, Cope Foundation has cared for and provided services to thousands of people with intellectual disability and/or autism.
Today, they offer an array of person-centred services and supports to 2,350 children and adults with intellectual disability and/or autism across its 69 locations in Cork city and county, by working in partnership with individuals, their families and local communities.
There are currently 1,547 people using Cope Foundation’s Day Services, 433 using residential services and 370 benefitting from multi-disciplinary therapies including SLT, physiotherapy and ASD services.
Services include speech and language therapy; behavioural therapy; therapy; rehab; occupational therapy; physiotherapy; accommodation; day care resources; employment; respite; social care; skills development and medical care.
A distinguishing factor is the quality of the care provided to those who need it. Cope Foundation’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it takes a completely person-centred approach and aim to enable each person to live life to the full, to influence decisions which affect them and to enable them to actively participate in the community. They work to include the individual at every step of their process, to ensure they feel a sense of ownership over decisions which affect their day-to-day lives.