Anthony Shore, Brothers of Charity Limerick
“Probably the most important aspect of this project for the individual is a sense of purpose”
“The aim of our Satellite service is to support each individual to gain more independence in life while promoting community inclusion. We began working with the Ilen School last May and the individuals involved in the boat building project have responded very well to this programme. It is one of their favourite activities. Not only have the individuals learned wood working skills, we believe this programme has enabled the group to work together as a team. During this project individuals are developing important life skills, for example listening and turn-taking and the importance of asking questions. Probably the most important aspect of this project for the individual is a sense of purpose. They feel like they are doing real work and at the end of the project they will have a real boat which they have made themselves. They are very proud of this.”
Ray Ryan, Irish Wheelchair Association
“building their own self confidence and ability to integrate into the wider community”
“All our members are delighted to be part of the project and are very much looking forward to continuing to attend the school into the future. The group is made up of male members who are wheelchair users of various levels of ability and are part of a IWA’s Mens Shed. The group have found the woodwork classes very beneficial, with the opportunity to learning and developing new skills. Before not some of the men would have never working with tools or never had the opportunity to be inside a workshop setting so they are really enjoying that whole experience. The instruction and guidance they receive from their tutors is of a very high standard, resulting in the group’s ability to be part of the overall process.
The men have also said that attending the Ilen classes has given them the opportunity to socially interact with people, meeting and making new friends, and in turn building their own self confidence and ability to integrate into the wider community. The new skills learned has also given them the confidence and ability to take on smaller projects of their own.”
Fiona Ryan, Limerick Mental Health Services
“the main benefits attributed are the benefits of working with wood, the sensory experience of it, the experience of contributing to something and the community spirit at the Ilen school”
“Our mens group have been attending the Ilen school since January 2013 and the success and benefits these men have experienced has been remarkable. An average of seven men attend each week and the group have been enjoying it immensely. Due to the success of this initial group we now have two groups running in conjunction with our Occupational Therapy Department.
Due to the nature of mental illness, motivation has been the key challenge for participating in groups and activities run by our service in the past. Also a common barrier is lack of concentration in taste and general engagement difficulties. Our tutors have been excellent in the delivery of skills to the men and have been so patient and kind towards them. All the men comment on how comfortable they feel around the tutors and how well they engage everyone in the group.
Having asked some of the men of the positives of the boatbuilding experience the main factors attributed are the benefits of working with wood, the sensory experience of it, the experience of contributing to something and the community spirit at the Ilen school.
We express our genuine appreciation for such a worthwhile and memorable experience, which we all hope will be ongoing and ‘flow’ into the future.”
Katrina Cremin, National Learning Network
“some have found a confidence in themselves that we couldn’t bring out in the classroom”
National Learning Network provides a range of flexible training courses and support services for people who need specialist support (job seekers, unemployed, people living with illness or disability). The aim of the programme is to provide learners with personal, social and work related skills that will enable them to progress to greater levels of employment readiness. Through the Ilen School programme the students have gained invaluable experience. Not only have they learned woodworking skills they have also learned about the importance of producing quality work. They have also learned how to take instruction, carry out instructions, work as part of a team and communication skills.
Jim, their instructor, has a way of bringing out the best in the students and some have found a confidence in themselves that we couldn’t bring out in the classroom. For this we are very grateful.”
Kate O’Neill, Focus Ireland
“We have noticed that the men who attend the Ilen School twice weekly no longer require high levels of support from ourselves”
The Ilen School has facilitated groups from Focus Ireland since 2010, providing sessions twice a week for an average of 5 clients per session.
Our clients often have high support needs and usually receive weekly support sessions from our staff. We have noticed that the men who attend the Ilen School twice weekly no longer require high levels of support from ourselves as they benefit much from the experience of attending the boat building school.
As well as gaining practical woodwork experience our clients have significantly improved their confidence and social skills. Being part of a process of building a boat from scratch and preparing for launch has been a very important process for our clients as it is not often that they have the opportunity to see such a large project through from start to finish, and it has really given them a sense of achievement.”
Susan Kearns, Paul Partnership Limerick
“The immeasurable personal satisfaction of making beautiful and technically challenging community objects”
“Through placing TUS Programme participants with the Ilen School I believe some of the main benefits have been:
– Positive personal development for participants
– The opportunity for participants to keep job discipline within their minds and lives
– The fulfilment gained from working for the well-being of others within a community project
– The greater potential for re-engagement with the jobs environment whilst keeping their skills sharp and practiced
– The immeasurable personal satisfaction of making beautiful and technically challenging community objects – in this case high quality boats.”
Declan Chambers, Cosceim Education Centre
“The time and expertise offered by the staff of the boat building school has greatly enhanced our overall curriculum”
“Many of the students who attend the Coisceim Education Centre have become disengaged from mainstream education and can often have a negative outlook towards learning. We try to address this by providing a range of supports which facilitates students’ academic, social and behavioural development. As part of this strategy the Centre has sought to enrich the curriculum through a range of extra-curricular activities. One of these activities included woodwork classes at the Ilen School.
The time and expertise offered on a voluntary basis by the staff of the boat building school, especially James, has greatly enhanced our overall curriculum, and not forms part of the Cosceim programme.”
Elisa O’Donovan, Headways
“The facilitators are extremely patient and helpful with all our clients living with brain injury, who all have different abilities.”
Headways clients have been active participants in the Ilen School since Sept 2012. In Headways we provide training programmes for people with head injuries. Sustaining a brain injury can have a significant impact on someone’s life and we try and promote positive change within the lives of this living with brain injury.
The boat building project has very much been part of positive change. Our clients look forward to their weekly session, not only is there a great sense of fun and camaraderie, but the clients are able to learn about traditional boat building. It allows our clients to do something practical, and to learn more about maritime skills.
Aoife McCarthy, Limerick Mental Health Services, HSE West
“The work is ‘hands-on’ which has been very beneficial for the men in the group”
James, the main instructor for our group has a great rapport with all members, helping them feel as relaxed as possible. All the volunteers who we have met have also been very welcoming. The men in our group have become more familiar with each other and some participants are able to help each other in different tasks.
The group work on building model boats. The men work ‘hands-on’ which has been very beneficial for the men in the group. Together with the instructors we agreed on the value of the clients being able to have an end product that they could take home.
Overall it is felt that the boat building group is going well. It is also valuable for us to be able to meet with the School instructors during the year to discuss the groups’ progress and ideas of different projects that the group could work on. A huge thanks to giving the men the opportunity to attend such a group as it helps with so many different areas of their lives.