Life

Enabling others to live their lives without limits

October 6th, 2020 7:05 AM

By Emma Connolly

Trudy McQuaid, fundraising and events co-ordinator at Enable Ireland, displays donations of jewellery already received for the charity's fundraising sale this autumn. Enable Ireland is appealing to the public for donations of fine jewellery or high quality costume jewellery for the vital fundraiser.

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A West Cork woman heads up fundraising at Enable Ireland. Like countless other charities, donations have been severely impacted by Covid-19 but a resilient Trudy McQuaid says she’s used to thinking on her feet and has plenty of exciting virtual events planned between now and the end of the year.

A CASTLETOWNBERE woman is appealing to the public to support Enable Ireland this autumn.

The charity supports over 900 children and adults with disabilities in Cork city and county, and has been majorly impacted by Covid-19.

Cork fundraising and events co-ordinator for the charity Trudy McQuaid explained how they were able to deliver their vital services virtually when lockdown hit in March, with enormous success.

But with all their scheduled fundraisers wiped out, they are now faced with coming up with new ways to raise the final €1m for their new children’s centre in Curraheen which they moved into last April.

That’s made even more difficult as they’re facing a significant loss in funding due to the temporary closure of their 21 charity shops earlier this year, due to the pandemic.

Trudy only started in her role last October, and obviously could never have planned for Covid. ‘But I have faced unexpected challenges in the past, professionally and personally, so I know there’s no time to waste in working to overcome a setback. There’s an eerie sense of solidarity in knowing that this isn’t just affecting me or my colleagues, it’s affecting everyone – globally – and there’s not much we can do about it other than to stay strong and adapt.

‘As a fundraiser you constantly need to think on your feet and develop new ways of doing things. Although we were devastated to have to cancel our traditional events, we have adapted quickly and we are holding two online events this November, a sale of new and pre-loved jewellery and a Wild Atlantic Way sale of art as well as reimagining our annual Life with no Limits campaign.

‘Jewellers all over Ireland are kindly donating new pieces for the sale of jewellery but we are also asking supporters if they can help. If you have one good quality piece to donate (or even broken items which can be repaired or may have value) I’d be delighted to hear from you!

‘I’m also very excited about the Wild Atlantic Way sale of art. I grew up along the Beara peninsula and have seen first-hand the wildness and beauty at play in our surroundings and how local artists exquisitely capture the essence of our rugged landscapes. Both events will be launched in time for Christmas so it’s the ideal chance to buy a beautiful and unique gift for someone close to you and support a local cause.’

Maura Bradley from Macroom, whose daughter Noreen attends Enable Ireland services, explains why the services are so important: ‘Without the help of Enable Ireland we wouldn’t be where we are today. Without their services Noreen wouldn’t be able to walk or stand, but now she’s walking independently without support. When she was younger she attended their early learning services which was fantastic, it really helped bring her out of herself. Now she’s starting secondary school which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Enable Ireland’s occupational therapy and physiotherapy department.’

Trudy was recently honoured with Network Cork’s Power Within Champion award, and judges commented: ‘This woman’s positivity and energy stand out as her defining characteristics. She has used her various talents from previous careers all to positive effect to help others.’

Trudy said she never expected to win and was ‘blown away’ by the recognition. ‘To me it represents our ability to adapt and respond to the challenges we face in our lives, both professional and personal. It means exploring how we can draw on our personal strengths and the support of friends, family and colleagues to work through difficult times together.’

The West Cork woman continued: ‘Our motto is Life with no Limits and every day I see and hear stories of the incredible resilience and adaptability by service users who draw on their power within to live life with no limits. I feel this award is something to be shared among everyone who has struggled over the past few months, but who is adapting, surviving and who will emerge stronger.’

• Enable Ireland’s annual ‘Life With No Limits’ campaign takes place until September 30. To support this, the jewellery and art sale see www.enableireland.ie.

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