We are delighted to have the Laois branch of Down Syndrome Ireland, in attendance for the nine days of this year’s festival. They will showcase their plans, for a truly inspiring project – the Laois “Field of Dreams”, which is their hope for a new life for their members, giving them the chance to be gainfully employed and therefore offering them the opportunity to be as financially and socially independent as they can possibly be and fully integrated in society.

Context of the Down Syndrome Ireland “Laois Branch”

Abbeyleix “Field of Dreams”

The main reasons for the Laois “Field of Dreams” are:

Currently our adult population with an intellectual difficulty in Laois spend most of their time in Day Service Provision in a non-productive way, which can often have huge adverse effects in terms of their mental health and well-being, and feelings of self-worth.  There is no proper life plan of meaningful progression in place for our adult members in terms of employment and social inclusion. Day Service Provision will always be a necessity, but it does not need to be a sitting service for all adults simply because there is nothing else out there for them in society currently.

We do not want this for our children and adults with an intellectual difficulty going forward in Laois.  The Laois “Field of Dreams” in Abbeyleix is a new way forward which will be parent led throughout and supported by our National body Down Syndrome Ireland.

Our adult population are entitled to the same employment opportunities as the rest of us in mainstream society.  Through meaningful paid employment opportunities, our members can then become properly engaged and be part of societal fabric instead of always being on the periphery to a very great degree.

The Laois “Field of Dreams” is our hope for a new life for our members with an intellectual difficulty.  Giving them the chance to be gainfully employed and therefore offering them the opportunity to be as financially and socially independent as they can possibly be and fully integrated in society.  This is no more than we would wish for any of our children irrespective of their ability or disability. We prefer to concentrate on our children and adults’ abilities as opposed to their disabilities.

None of the current services and supports provided by Down Syndrome Ireland “Laois Branch” would be possible without the huge generosity of the people of Laois over the last twenty-four years and for that we thank them sincerely.

Employment is the key to it all, and therefore the Laois “Field of Dreams” Employment Training Centre of Excellence is the door to meaningful progression for our adults.

To this end we have established a fundraising page for anyone wishing to donate to this great cause.

www.gofundme.com/field-of-dreams-laois

Email: laoisdownsyndrome@hotmail.com

WEB: www.laoisdownsyndrome.ie

Our sincere thanks to the Durrow Scarecrow Festival for giving us the opportunity to showcase our plans for the Laois “Field of Dreams” during the Scarecrow Festival this year.