Staff and individuals from Disability Services all over Ireland were presented with special award trophies at the Active Disability Services Awards at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park last week.

Awards were presented for specific physical activity programmes, management teams, key workers and active service users. There were also special recognition awards presented to people who work in disability services who go above and beyond to include active healthy practices.

Sport and physical activity featured strongly with four of the awards being given out in this key area.

The Best Physical Activity Programme Award went to the Sports Centre APA Programme at Stewarts Care in Dublin.

The Best Outdoor Activity Programme Award was won by Patrick’s Hiking Programme, St. Patrick’s Centre in Kilkenny.

The Best Health Education Sport and Recreation Programme Award went to AVISTA at St. Vincents Centre in Dublin.

And the Best Community Engagement Programme was given to Enjoy Tennis from KARE Kildare.

The event was presented by Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland in partnership with the HSE and Sport Ireland and sponsored by Hyundai Ireland. It was an inspiring celebration of how people within disability services across Ireland prioritise, encourage, facilitate and create physical activity programmes and healthy lifestyle initiatives for people with disabilities.

Among those present on the night and interviewed by host Matt Cooper were Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers, Disability Equality Activist, Jacqui Browne.

“You can participate, you can play, you can be a spectator and supporter, so we need to think about inclusion at so many levels,” said Browne.

“My key message would be to use your own voice, don’t be afraid to speak up saying what you need to participate.”

“This was a special celebration in so many ways,” said Cara CEO Niamh Daffy.

“While offering a long-awaited opportunity to reconnect with our colleagues and partners, this awards ceremony allowed us to shine the spotlight on the commitment of passionate people within disability services who go above and beyond in advocating for, supporting and empowering people with disabilities to have equal opportunities in leading an active and healthy lifestyle.”

Among the other winners were Anthony Mullen from Brothers of Charity Services, Galway and Roscommon, who received the Active Champion award for being a role model for other service users to be active and healthy. He said he was very happy to win and was going to give his trophy to his mother, and Maeve Lynch from CoAction West Cork picked up the People Make Places award for her dedication and commitment to including physical activity and healthy lifestyles for service users.

The Lifetime Service Award was presented to Terence McSweeney of Cope Foundation, Cork, in recognition of his passion for including physical activity and healthy practices throughout his 40 years of service.