Blossom Ireland’s vision is to create an inclusive society for young people with intellectual disabilities. We believe young people with intellectual disabilities should have the same opportunities as all other young people.
Howard Davies has been attending Blossom Ireland since he was 8. He recently graduated from the Blossom Gateway programme which worked with him over a period of 2 years in developing his social skills, his independence while out in the community along with preparing for life after school.
During his time at Blossom Ireland, Howard has developed so many new skills. Along with volunteering in delivering Blossom Ireland yoga classes and he did some work experience at the Bloom Festival. He recently told us:
“Blossom Ireland taught me how to travel safely by myself. I learned how to talk to other people. I am confident more often and I can now do more things by myself. I helped the staff with their jobs and tasks.”
As a result of the skills and experience attained at Blossom Gateway Howard has also got work placements as a café/shop assistant in Londis in Sandyford and a café assistant in Mario’s Pizzeria in Malahide. Howard travelled independently to work thanks to the travel training done during Blossom Gateway and his confidence has soared since getting these jobs. His increased confidence also led him to co-present a radio show on Dublin South FM and assist instructors at gym sessions in Portmarnock Leisure Centre.
Howard will attend Blossom Connect this autumn which will see our Local Area Co-Ordinator work with him and his family on a one to one basis to support his transition to life after school for up to two years. Howard has also applied for a part-time paid position with Blossom Ireland as a Peer Mentor at our Blossom Buddies and Gateway programmes. He loves to tell us and the other participants what it was like participating in an interview, what he has done in work that day and this is, in turn, further benefits the other participants who see what they can achieve.
The Blossom Teen Development Programme – which includes Blossom Buddies, Gateway, and Connect – is part of the Ability programme that is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund.