What a Difference a Day Makes

What a Difference a Day Makes

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Nearly 300 volunteers from Fidelity Investments Ireland travelled to Westmeath, from the greater Athlone area, Dublin and Galway to transform a dilapidated wasteland into a beautiful and tranquil space which will be used by members of the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), the local community and other organisations based in the Clonbrusk Resource Centre, Coosan Road, Athlone.

Sensory Garden

In just one day, Fidelity employees, working alongside community volunteers and IWA members created an accessible exercise path; raised wheelchair accessible vegetable plots and flower beds; seating areas; bird and window boxes and a play area which will be used by IWA and the other organisations based in the centre including; National Council of the Blind Ireland (NCBI), Multiple Sclerosis Ireland (MS) Health Service Executive (HSE) and a crèche.

One of the most popular programmes offered by IWA from the Clonbrusk Resource and Outreach Centre is a weekly horticulture and gardening class facilitated by the Vocational Education Committee (VEC). As part of the future plans for the service, IWA planned to develop a fully accessible and sensory community garden which members of the Association and the local community could enjoy and maintain.

Speaking about the community garden project CEO of IWA, Kathleen McLoughlin explained,

With the support of Westmeath County Council we were able to access this piece of ground with a dream to create a beautiful space where people with disabilities could enjoy building and maintaining their own sensory garden.

We feared it would take us a number of years to raise the necessary funds, but thanks to the generosity and support of Fidelity Investments Ireland, IWA can now successfully complete the community garden project over one day. The community and sensory garden can also be utilised by the physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals based in the centre, enhancing the standards of excellence in care for people with disabilities living in Athlone.

This garden is about believing in people and understanding the need for us as humans to be able to enjoy nature and its beauty around us. Fidelity Investments have proved they also share this vision and we hope that they will return as guests to enjoy all that has blossomed here.


Travis Carpico, President of Fidelity Investments Ireland travelled with his staff to the event and assisted them to build the sensory garden which required over 200 tonnes of materials, 20 cubic metres of mulch, 1,000 metres of timber and over 500 plants and trees.

While talking about the project he said,

Fidelity’s employees have always been very active in the community and have chosen for the past few years to spend our July 4th team day engaged in projects like today’s.  We are excited for the opportunity to work with the Clonbrusk Resource Centre and IWA to make a small but tangible difference in the lives of the individuals supported by IWA while also working together as a team.

Community Participation

The community garden project and partnership between Irish Wheelchair Association and Fidelity Investments Ireland was made possible by Difference Days, a corporate social responsibility events company who facilitate opportunities for businesses and organisations to give something back to the community.

Maura Morgan, General Manager, HSE also commented:

Our clients will benefit from this welcome initiative which will bring hours of pleasure in the outdoors to the local community including people with disabilities in Athlone. The provision of the creative colourful murals on the walls in the Resource and Outreach Centre will bring lots of vitality and entertainment for children with disabilities and others"

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