6 July 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Cope Foundation, one of the largest disability organisations in Ireland, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland. The agreement formalises the relationship between the two groups as they continue to work together to make physical activity more accessible to people of all abilities.
Cork-based charity Cope Foundation works to enhance the lives of people with an intellectual disability and/or autism; working in partnership with them, their families and local communities to provide a broad range of person-centred services and supports. It currently supports over 2,800 people of every ability to live a life of their choosing.
Cara is a national pan-disability sports organisation providing a collaborative and partnership platform to increase sport and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities across Ireland. Cara was founded in 2007 and has its offices based at the Kerry Sports Academy, Munster Technological University Kerry and the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, Dublin.
The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the areas of work where shared interests are best served through the development of a strategic partnership. The two organisations have agreed to collaborate in the areas of awareness, advocacy, project partnership, sharing of knowledge and expertise, and research.
Sean Abbott, Chief Executive of Cope Foundation said, “We have a strong working relationship with Cara and this Memorandum of Understanding provides a framework for how we can continue to work together in the years to come. It’s about sharing expertise and resources to support people with disabilities to stay active and live healthy lives. As far back as the 1970s we at Cope Foundation realised that one of the best ways to create an inclusive community was through sport. Sport is enjoyed by everyone, either as a spectator or a participant. We believe that there is a place in sport for everyone, regardless of ability.”
Maria O’Sullivan, Health and Wellbeing Education Coordinator at Cara added, “Cara is delighted to sign this Memorandum of Agreement with Cope Foundation. We have always supported the work Cope Foundation has achieved over the years and have worked closely with their staff and management across numerous programmes and campaigns. Cara and Cope Foundation have the same values and beliefs of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities through sport and physical activity opportunities. We hope that the development of this Memorandum of Agreement will help provide stronger supports and strengthen the relationships across both organisations.”
Terence McSweeney, Manager of Cope Foundation’s Physical Activity and Sports Department said, “Our organisation is unique in having a department (14 full and part-time staff) solely dedicated to promoting physical activity and sport and in the most inclusive, equitable and person-centred manner possible. Our job is to provide opportunities for the people we support to be active, engaged citizens in society. We endeavour to ensure that the individuals we support, like every other citizen in Cork, may engage in physical activities and sports of their choosing within their own local communities. Our work in influencing and working with our community partners to make Cork the sports inclusion capital of Ireland will be further enhanced by formalising this partnership with Cara.”