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Please support the Irish Wheelchair Association this Christmas by becoming a Secret Santa donor.

The Irish Wheelchair Association is appealing to members of the public to give the gift of connection, freedom and community this Christmas by making a donation to the Irish Wheelchair Association’s Secret Santa appeal.

It’s a wonderful way for someone to receive a lovely gift at Christmas without knowing who it’s from. That’s exactly the impact you could have on an Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) member with a kind donation this Christmas.

Over the past few years, everyone has become aware of the importance of togetherness. The lockdowns and distancing have been tough on everybody, and we're all looking forward to a proper Christmas, with family and friends nearby.

For people with disabilities, the IWA Community Centre really is the heart of their Christmas. The centres have been providing a lifeline for members like Liz who travels to her local Community Centre three days a week. She loves how the centre is so lively and full of opportunities to get involved.

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“There’s always something coming. I have more energy the days I come here. The days can very long and lonely,” she says.

“There are people I can ring but it's not the same. I watch telly but there doesn’t be much on. It’s very lonely if I can’t come to the Centre. The routine is important, it’s great!”

For people with disabilities, including Liz, the last few years have been especially difficult. Covid-19 restrictions meant that most of the IWA centre activities had to be put on hold. It was the longest time Liz had ever been away from the centre, and it was a real struggle.

“I thought I’d never get back. It was so long,” she says, her voice cracking as she remembers. “It was the longest time I ever had to put in. No-one to see, nowhere to go. It was too quiet.”

In the run-up to Christmas, Liz loves all the activities and excursions that she and her team organise, thanks to the generosity of their supporters.

Nearly 20,000 people benefit from services provided by Irish Wheelchair Association across sport, accessible homes, transport, assisted living services and community centre services which provide a social outlet for members to make friends and develop lifelong skills as well as combatting loneliness and isolation.

To donate, call (01) 818 6485 or visit: www.iwa.ie/secretsanta

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