In 2014 and 2015 Development Perspectives, alongside The Mill ran a youth development programme called “IgnYte” to provide the opportunity & environment for young unemployed people to explore self-employment and give them the confidence to pursue their ambitions.
My name is Maria and I joined the Ignyte programme in March 2015 intending to make a business out of selling my handmade, artistically designed tote bags, which I have been making for two years.
I have to say my experience of IgnYte was a great one, the facilitators were such lovely people and I learned a lot about myself – it was the best six weeks of my life!
During the programme, Barry from the Young Social Innovators came in and we talked about young people, old people and people with disabilities and how they contribute in their community. As a person who uses a wheelchair it definitely hit home as I feel I don’t contribute to my community as much as I should. So as a group we decided to create an accessibility app. I feel there should be information about what places are wheelchair accessible e.g have ramps, lifts, toilets etc.
To get the ball rolling we got in contact with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) to see if they would like to be involved and of course they did. We also asked Colin from The Mill if he wanted to help us in creating the app as he is an expert in that department. Without the help of these people the app would never have been possible.
We researched places in Drogheda that are wheelchair friendly and sent the information to Colin and his team of experts in The Mill. We decided as a group that we should have ten categories of venues e.g bars and restaurants, entertainment and public buildings etc. We also had several meetings with the IWA in Drogheda.
In mid April we had developed a demo of the app – we saw how it would look and how it works. I have to say I was really happy in how it turned out, seeing it in front of me and knowing how much hard work went into it made me so proud. During the demo app meeting we decided that we would also include accessible toilets and parking.
In late May we as a group from IgnYte and members of the IWA went to Croke Park for the Social Innovator Awards where we were all awarded certificates for all we have achieved. And hopefully all 53 IWA centres will be interested in the app as it is such a needed thing in any community.
If it wasn’t for the members in The Mill I wouldn’t be doing these amazing things in my life so I just want to take this opportunity to thank them all for being there and being such a great support network.