PQASSO Reviewers, UK and Ireland
Carrying out a peer review for the PQASSO Quality Mark in this organisation proved to be a very enjoyable and inspiring occasion for the members of the review team. We were very impressed by all we saw and very inspired and encouraged by the passionate, vibrant and informed commitment of everyone we talked with.
David, Residential Service User
I love the house in where I live because I get to do stuff by myself and the staff help me if i need it. I get a day off work on tuesdays and a particular staff member support me then to go out to places i went to go like the cinema, croke park and the aviva stadium.
Bob Rhodes, Co-Director Lives Through Friends
If you want to know about communities, roots and belonging – and their relevance to social care – then the Walk would be a good place to start. I’ve known Walk for quite a number of years now, largely through collaborations to disseminate universal ideas – like Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks, Asset Based Community Development, and the simple notion that all care begins with relationships – amongst all concerned with human services in Ireland. I’ve been struck by the organisation’s commitment to the essential and the ordinary, its sense of place and roots in the communities it regularly animates. And I’m constantly refreshed by the commitment of its leadership to be daily informed by the lives the families and individuals they assist and their understanding that belonging is a product of reciprocity and hospitality. Walk is not a comfortable and compliant institution. How could it be given its roots in the people and communities it serves? It is rarely afraid to, Damien Dempsey-like, speak its truth to power and this should be celebrated, a source of hope.
Paul is a valued member of the Evergreen team and he contributes to the running of the shop through the important jobs he undertakes. Part of our ethos is to ensure our customers are getting quality produce and service and Paul’s input has really been a factor in upholding this. Our partnership with Walk has worked really well for all involved, and we look forward to continuing this well into the future.
Ciara Reilly, Fas student placement
My time in Walk so far on the course has been very enjoyable. I feel very comfortable in Walk and enjoy getting to know everyone in the organisation. All the staff and service users are very friendly and welcoming and I enjoy being here. The course is great so far adn everyone in the group gets on very well. The tutor is brilliant adn the course is always enjoyable. I have learned a lot so far on the course and have also got to know a lot about service users and different ways in how to support people. I feel more confident since I started the course. I have also learned how independent people with disabilities can be which I never realised before. Walk is a lovely place to be doign the course nad I have learned so much since the course started about myself and about others.
Dr. James Gardner, Council on Quality and Leadership
CQL commends Walk for its success in increasing the quality of life for the people it supports. CQL Accreditation signifies organizational excellence in promoting a common vision of community participation and quality of life for all people.
Willie Walshe, Clan Beo
The first thing I notice about visiting the Walk's services is the invisibility of staff. Maybe it’s because the staff are working away in the background making a better life happen for the people who use the centre. Maybe it’s because the people who use the centre act like they own the place. Sometimes when I’ve come on site I forget the business I have with the ‘organisation’ because the people there are so keen to share what they are about. The people I know who use the place in Walk are proud of themselves and the lives they are creating. They are up front in saying what they think of you, the other people they work with, the food, or their most recent achievement. The people I have met who use the Walk services know about injustice and the human rights they feel they have an equal entitlement to. The people I know who use the centre are serious about living their own independent lives. They are supported in making progress at their own individual pace and in their own way. The Walk ‘experience’ seems kind of like the old bra advert where the selling point is about invisible support and feeling your best.
Crumlin Citizens Information Service,
Crumlin Citizens Information Service are committed to working in collaboration with local community groups and organizations in the Dublin 12 area. We have been working in partnership with Walk for the past two years. The benefits of our partnership have included the delivery of a ‘Making a Will’ workshop delivered by Crumlin CIS and hosted by Walk. We have also produced a joint information publication which promoted both services. In addition the two organizations have sat side by side on local boards of management. Working with Walk has certainly helped us further embed ourselves in the local community and raised awareness of disability issues. There is strength in our partnership and creating a close connection has reaped rewards for both of us.
Manager, Black Lion Pub
Anthony has been working with us in the Black Lion Pub over the past year, three mornings a week, doing a great job. We have regular contact with staff from Walk, ensuring things are working out well for Anthony and ourselves. Having Anthony working with the Black Lion reflects our commitment to serving our community and our traditional family pub values and atmosphere, where our friendly and efficient staff are always on hand to ensure your stay is a pleasant and enjoyable one.
Student Researcher, Major Academic Centre
I collaborated with a group of self advocates on my primary research this year at the Walk. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear their voices and get a true sense of their opinions and experiences of Human Rights. They welcomed me, shared their expert knowledge with me and showed deep understanding of Human Rights. We had a lot of fun along the way and it was an honour and a pleasure to work with the group. Walk staff and service users along with an independent advocate were very supportive and open to innovative ways of engaging self advocates in research. I had a very fulfilling and memorable time researching with the self advocates at Walk.
Simon Wade, Former Social Care Leader in Walk With You
I worked for Walk between 2004 when I arrived to Ireland and 2008 when I returned to Australia. I had come to Ireland on a working holiday visa and was employed by Walk within a few months of my arrival. I was employed as a social care worker, working in a residential house. What struck me most during my first few days impression was how well everyone who either lived, used or worked at Walk knew one another. There was always an open door to service users and all the staff were friendly and helpful. The lasting impression for me was the focus of relationship building between all the above mentioned. The use of Studio III’s clinical psychologist not only to work with service users but to work with the staff teams. This allowed the staff to understand each other wonderfully well and learn to problem solve in a constructive team environment. There was nothing wrong, there was only what could be improved. The residential unit was a very challenging environment to work in. The focus that the low arousal non aversive approach provided allowed staff to reflect and improve themselves and how they dealt with challenges and to make them different. To act and not react. Not only did this build a strong staff team, it allowed improved relationships with service users. I had never worked in a service before working with Walk where the staff would often open their homes to service users and give of their time in support of people. I worked with Deirdre for almost 2 years and then was given another opportunity as a Social Care Leader to manage a new house that currently was the home of one service user and would soon be home to more. This was a very interesting challenge and allowed me to work with a new team of staff and a group of new service users, most of which were new to Walk. This was a wonderful challenge that I enjoyed. The support of the team of staff with the varied roles, for example the use of psychology graduates, within the service and the use of outside services and training such as Studio III and David Patonyak allowed this to build the structure to succeed. Overall my time at Walk With You brought new challenges and interesting ideas. The learning from this period of time was significant and provided me with the insights to not only enjoy my future working life and choices, but to also enjoy the life choices of my family.
Brian Murphy, St. John Bosco Youth Centre
Walk has used the St John Bosco Youth Centre on a regular basis over the past few years. It is great to see the respect and care that is given to each of their clients by their staff and volunteers. The great atmosphere that emanates from all their groups that attend here adds to the atmoshphere in our centre and provides an opportunity for those attending our centre and the clients of Walk to interact with each other even if it is often just in passing. This is important for both groups to see each other as equal members of our community of Dublin 12. Over the years that I have had contact with Walk, the one thing that strikes me is that their commitment to providing a high quality service is not just in words but in how the service operates at all levels. Anybody who walks in through the doors of their fabolous premises on the Long Mile Road will immediately be struck by the quality of the premises and the great atmoshphere and welcome. We are the Bosco look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Walk for many years to come.
Epp O'Neill, CQL Quality Enhancement Specialist
The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) is proud of the partnership they have with Walk which has been accredited by CQL since 2007 Walk has not only met the stringent requirements for accreditation but excels in being a strong advocate locally and nationally to support person centered, person-directed services for all citizens with a disability. Through their services, advocacy, partnerships and public presence Walk has been a leader in moving their innovative ideas into everyday actions. They have a clear understanding of the importance and benefits of self determination and individual choice within the context of one’s community rather than just within the “disability community.” Due to this focus many people receiving services have built ties and connections with family, friends, neighbors, work associates, social groups and others that were not previously present in their lives. Walk supports people to not only participate in the life of the community but to give back to the community which in turn improves the quality of life for all community members.
Maria Finn, South Dublin County Council
The Social Inclusion Network provide a forum for social inclusion and equality workers from the member agencies of the South Dublin County Development Board and the Social Inclusion Measures Group to collaborate, network, and peer support on social inclusion, anti-poverty and equality issues. Walk affiliated to the Disability Federation of Ireland plays a vital role in this network. Other members include South Dublin County Council, Dodder Valley Partnership, FAS, the South Dublin County Childcare Committee, Health Services Executive, CPLN Partnership and South Dublin County Community Platform. The active participation of all the Agencies ensures the following: Provides a strategic, inclusive and holistic focus to service delivery in South Dublin County; It enables an awareness of resources across service areas to be developed and maximised; It provides a comprehensive picture of the social inclusion training needs of staff in member agencies; It ensures that the Network will become a comprehensive, central information source for Social Inclusion and Poverty within the County. Key Achievements to Date: • Social Inclusion Week in November: This is an annual event and it highlights and promotes the positive work that the Social Inclusion Network is involved in to reduce social exclusion and poverty and to provide an understanding of inclusion and diversity in South Dublin County. Pathways through Unemployment Seminar November 2010: The seminar aimed to engage people in an active discussion about their needs, struggles and ambitions during times of unemployment. The seminar was an opportunity for people to see what supports were available to them, to meet with others to discuss ideas, hopes and aspirations and to feedback these ideas and opinions to South Dublin County Council for circulation to all agencies and for follow up.
Deirdre Carroll, Inclusion Ireland
As previous winners of Inclusion Ireland’s Advocacy Award, Walk has shown itself to be an organisation committed to the promotion of human rights. Central to the overarching ethos of Walk is community inclusion and ensuring the person using their service is seen as an individual. Lena Durney, a founding member of Walk is an honorary life member of Inclusion Ireland. We have worked with Walk for many years and have found those working at the organisation, to be committed to the rights of those people they support.
Ray Lynch, The Open Training College
Walk has many outstanding attributes and qualities; one in particular is its approach and value base concerning the “real” empowerment of people with disabilities. The organisation works in “partnership” with all stakeholders and actively strives to ensure that the service user’s voice is heard and acted upon. With the establishment of the Human Rights Enhancement Committee in 2007 the organisation has demonstrated their progressive attitude, willingness and capacity to tackle important issues that impact on the lives of all service uses. Walk's high degree of professionalism and understanding of the service users’ wishes and needs has resulted in the achievement of many positive outcomes for all stakeholders. The management consultant Stephen Covey once quoted: “An empowered organisation is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organisational success”. Walk strives at all times to empower all stakeholders in the activities and decision making processes of the organisation. It aims to provide a service that is underpinned by a philosophy of empowerment, individual choice and inclusion for all. No doubt Walk will be met with many more obstacles and challenges in the years ahead. However with its progressive attitude to the enhancement of service user rights coupled with its underlying ethos and strong value base I am confident Walk will continue to celebrate significant “organisational successes” in the years ahead. I wish Walk every success for the future.
Paul O'Connell, Kingswood
In 2008 I started going to respite in a house in Kingswood. During that time I was asked if I would like to move in and in 2009 I made it my new home. I was a bit nervous at first about moving out of my home in Clondalkin and I was also a bit excited about moving in to Kingswood. Moving in to Kingswood has given me the chance to meet new people. I like being able to walk around to my local shops and meet the people in my area, they are all very friendly to me. I am now able to travel from Kingswood to my work in Inchicore by Luas.In Kingswood I have learnt how to cook and I cook my own dinner every day. My favourite thing to make is pasta. I help the staff some weeks to do the shopping for the house. What I like most about Kingswood is I have my own room with my computer and I can have time to myself.
John Carpenter, Walk Residential House
I moved into a Walk Residential House in 2009 and there are lots of things that I like about it. The staff help me to get out and about to places like the cinema and because there is a car in the house I get to enjoy going on longer trips. The house is near the Luas line and lots of bus stops so I can go into the community easily. It is also within walking distance of my work and very close to my family home which means I can easily keep in contact with my family. The house is a good size. I have my own room for privacy and I also have a large garden. I like to fix things and I use the shed to repair electric items or bikes. I also help around the house to do some maintenance including changing the light bulbs.
Sarah Carbery, Residential Services worker
I've now been with Walk for 2 years and it has been filled with event. It was great to be part of supporting two of the service users celebrate milestone birthdays. The manner in which they marked those occasions really underlined how in one year they have developed a real home in Kingswood. I was also pleased when I was asked to participate in training in manual handling. In my performance development review meeting I identified that I wanted to develop new skills in my work and this training has given me the chance to do so. I am now a qualified manual handling instructor and look forward to training staff within the organisation. The past few years saw some changes to the staff team and to the design of the house in Kingswood. The additional skills that my new colleagues have brought to the team and the redesign of the house add to the quality of supports for the people living in Kingswood. I look forward to being part of the continued achievements in Walk in 2010.