The care available locally for children born with learning disabilities in the west of Ireland in the early 1960s was essentially nothing. Children were separated from their families and shipped off on what was a long journey at the time to institutions in Dublin.
In 1966, concerned families organised a public meeting in Castlebar to address the problem. To everyone’s surprise, almost two hundred people turned up. A volunteer-based association was established, and eventually took the name “Western Care.”
Over the last several months, Claremorris Community Radio has worked in partnership with Western Care Association to produce a major documentary tracing the evolution of the organisation from those humble beginnings to one that now operates residential homes, day centres, respite centres, Special Olympics teams and many other support services for the learning disabled throughout County Mayo.
“From Small Beginnings: 50 Years of Community Spirit” traces the 50-year history of the association’s development in the Claremorris area, highlighting its volunteers, services, and the learning disabled service users who enjoy a full quality of life in close proximity to their own families.
It will make its broadcast premier on Christmas Day at 3 p.m., with a repeat on St. Stephen’s Day at 2 p.m. Tune in on 94.6 FM and online at www.ccr946.ie. You can also listen on the TuneIn and Radio.Garden apps on your smartphone.