Following from their recent hosting of the National Down Syndrome Ireland AGM, our Louth Meath branch launched another pioneering initiative for their members.
The newly formed Regional Advisory Council(RAC) is an independent self-advocacy group for adults with Down syndrome in the North East area. The 14 member council, consisting primarily of people from Meath and Louth but also some from Westmeath and Cavan, is the first of its kind within DSI’s 25 branches. Based on the successful National Advisory Council developed over a number of years, the RAC offers an opportunity for the branch members to have a structured input into the plans and activities of DSI in the region.
Speaking at the first meeting of the Council, Louth Meath branch chairperson Paul Radford said:
“We are proud to be the first branch in Ireland to commence the Regional Advisory Council initiative. We have known for a long time, as both parents and committee members, that people with Down syndrome have their own voice and opinion about how they want to live their lives. The RAC will ensure that those voices are listened to, those opinions respected and acted upon.”
Council facilitator and DSI National Advocacy Officer, Helena Connors said:
“We are delighted that the Louth Meath branch are taking the lead on the RAC programme and we hope to follow suit with other branches across our countrywide membership. Over the next two years, the Regional Advisory Council members will engage in structured self-advocacy and organisational skills training that will enable them to be confident and effective self-advocates. They will be electing their own officers and speaking out on the issues of concern to themselves and the communities in which they live. Watch this space!”