Charter Story – NCBI, Iona Resource Centre, Dublin

We are continuing to forge new partnerships with other sporting clubs and organisations as we fully understand the need to connect our service users with their local community and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


NCBI, Iona Resource Centre

The NCBI Iona Resource Centre is located in Drumcondra Dublin and provides day opportunities to support people with sight loss.  “Engage, Enable and Empower” forms our guiding principles and we are here to aid our service users to achieve their goals.  We have links within the community to enable our service users to play a fulfilling and engaging role within their local community; whether that be for employment, work experience or recreational and social activities.


1. Openness

Be open to and understanding of all people with disabilities

  • We provide a specialised individual programme on one of our 3 core strands: Skills4Stability, Skills4Life or Skills4Me – Our three pathways will help you to achieve the skills you need to accomplish your goals, independence and have a fulfilled life in your community – all supported by skilled, specialist staff.
    • Skills4Stability: A programme designed to provide social and communication skills stimulation whilst providing an engaging personalised programme and an opportunity to maintain and learn new skills.
    • Skills4Life: Keen to learn new skills and progress? Choose from our specialised sessions and design your own bespoke programme to enable skills development and progression towards your own individual goal
    • Skills4Me: Flexibility is key! Design a personalised programme that fits around your needs, whether that is work, education or a hectic lifestyle. Select sessions that suit you and enable you to upskill and receive specialised support.


  • Rehabilitative Work for the Individual – Our ability to work with people with a wide ranging need, enables us to offer specialised support to ensure individuals can live their life to their full potential. Our team have worked collaboratively with physios and OT’s to support our individualservice users and ensure that they receive the maximum support to further improve their health and achieve their individual goals. This allows for more work to be done in a weekly process with the individual receiving the much needed guidance, support and progression in their everyday lives.
  • One to One training – As we focus on the individual and their own goals, we offer 1:1 training sessions according to our service users needs & wishes. This enables them to gather momentum while being motivated through guidance and experience from our professionals. This creates an increase in knowledge and awareness of overall health and wellbeing for a person that extends further than a traditional day service model and has a lasting positive impact on their everyday life.


  • Person Centred Planning – Our service is fully compliant with HSE New Directions and the services we offer are tailored to the individual needs of each and every service user. We treat everyone as an individual and assist all our service users in fulfilling their potential.  We provide a varied and holistic approach in providing a day service & health & well-being is central to our service.  We recognise the importance of not only the physical health of an individual but also their mental & emotional well-being.  Sessions that we offer are adapted in a way that all abilities are mixed and adapted to each individual. The importance of session planning and progression of each session is hugely important for this to be achieved. We have created a platform where each 6 weeks sessions are planned with each individual involved and progression and involvement is recorded each week. We are then able to evaluate the success of our programs.


2. People

Access training for our staff/volunteers to facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities

  • Increase in participation – We recognise that the reality is loneliness can affect almost one in ten people in Ireland. Combine that with having a visual impairment and this can exacerbate feelings of isolation. We promote a healthy lifestyle and participation in physical activity, not only within our centre but also connecting individuals with their local community to maintain a social connection and positive well-being.  Every physical exercise session we deliver has high energy and a fun experience to ensure engagement in physical activity is a positive and engaging experience and in turn increases participation. The adaptability of sessions ensures that everyone achieves something; that optimistic and constructive thought process is then applied in all aspects of life.
  • An opportunity to set goals and push limits – We identify and appreciate that everyone is different and that personal achievement is very bespoke to everyone. We have a RARPA (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement) Assessment Tool that enables us to track and measure the “Soft Skills” (confidence, self-esteem, team-work, communication etc) which are vital skills for individuals to learn and develop. Participation is the main our main priority and for people to enjoy engagement in physical activity and recognise their own personal achievement. Some who partake feel a sense of competitiveness and wanting to achieve something a goal whilst being involved in our fitness program. Everything aspect of the physical exercise programme is personalised and discussed through an open conversation and relationship with our Fitness and Recreation Coordinator James. Their goal then forms part of their Individual Plan (IP) to achieve and we celebrate their success!

  • Community Involvement – NCBI takes a varied approach to providing day opportunities by aiming to be in the heart of local community, ensuring that our service users have the widest choice and options about how to live their lives and how to spend their time. we strive to connect our service users with their local community by making forming partnerships with businesses and organisations, providing support & ongoing guidance; enabling our service users to access facilities and activities in their community. By building the confidence up of each individual through a process of physical and mental/emotional support, we want to see our service users avail of their local amenities in due course. As James Flanagan our Fitness and Recreation Coordinator states: ‘That is the main goal and motivation for me. We want to be inclusive & accessibile in society. To build the confidence up in each individual where they are able to go to their local gym or facility and access this with enough confidence and security in themselves to do so. That is why we do what we do in this area of work and always will be for me.’


Quotes from service users:

‘The exercice is very good for my neck. I love taking part and being able to do things I couldn’t do before like the thread I’ll and I am confident in going to te gym now. I was brilliant at shapeshifters even though I was nervous and I love trying new things out now’ – Gillian Finlay

“Sport and Physical fitness have greatly improved my stamina, concentration, mental fitness, that include critical thinking, repel negative thoughts and loneliness over the years.  it has further help me to gain the satisfaction of developing other skills in sport and non-sport programs. Base on my experience I would like to encourage blind and visually impair persons to get involve in sport and physical fitness exercise.” – David Kortukohun, NCBI Service User


3. Activities

Develop and deliver inclusive activities

  • Shapeshifters – Using the power of sport, Shapeshifters engages, motivates and propels it’s participants to achieve feats that they knew possible. This adapted physical activity event illustrates how sport can help to inspire people with disabilities to push their own limits improving their psychological, physical & social health & wellbeing. At the Iona Resource Centre we passionately believe that a disability should never define anyone.  Our multi-challenge event tasks teams competing against each other that will test their endurance, nature & physicality against each other; whilst highlighting each every competitors own personal journey & achievement. The Iona Resource “Connected Communities” initiative forms an integral part of Shapeshifters, with training occurring within local venues to promote integration & community engagement.  We gain sponsorship from local businesses & encourage active participation through voluntary team captain from a sponsored team.  This provides mutual rewards, with the local business gaining sighted guide training & disability awareness training, improved fitness from the physical training programme & being part of an amazing team! Shapeshifters is much more than just a sporting event. It encapsulates the determination, strength & human spirit which is the heart of Shapeshifters. “Be Brave, Be Bold. Be ME”


  • Access4All – We recognise that such isolation can be found amongst other vulnerable groups. Through our Connected Communities Initiative, NCBI is aiming to ensure that everyone, regardless of disability has the right and opportunity to access sporting/spectator events in their local community. Our Access4All Programme aims to provide general disability awareness, sighted guide and audio commentary training to teams of connected volunteers linked with a sporting club around Ireland.  With the skills and awareness gained from our training and the resource pack provided, Access4All Volunteers will then be empowered to deliver a vital audio commentary service to people with disabilities and additional needs across Ireland.  Access4All has the potential to enable people with disabilities and other access needs to better connect with their local community whilst giving volunteers an opportunity to share their passion for sport in a really meaningful and positive way!




  • Partnership Working – We feel it is vitally important to link with organisations to further improve opportunities for our service users. We have successful links forged with Irish Blind Golf where we now attend golf lessons with a group weekly. Through Access4All we have been able to work in conjunction with a number of LOI cubs both in Dublin and nationwide which allow further access to live LOI games. We have also linked with our two SIDO’s in Dublin city sports partnership where they have been able to provide some excellent programs for our service users to explore. We are continuing to forge new partnerships with other sporting clubs and organisations as we fully understand the need to connect our service users with their local community and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


Diversity of classes – We are always diverse and offer variety of classes to keep our service users engage and exploring new option. Our service users inform our service delivery, via questionnaires or simply asking to try something new; for which we are always responsive. It enables us to offer variance in activities on our timetable which now includes Zumba, Pilates, Boxercise, and Golf to name a few! We have a Health and Wellbeing week planned for later in the year, and some new activities such as canoeing and tennis.

Variety – Taking part in Cara Initiatives such as Fit4all & National Fitness Day has given the opportunity to allow for further events to occur in the centre through links with other sporting bodies.



4. Facilities

Review our facility/venues/equipment to make our organisation more accessible

  • Improving gym facilities – We are lucky to have such accessible facilities on site for our service. However, we are always striving to improve our equipment in our gym to be able to include more technological updates and greater variety of exercises. The success of Shapeshifters and the funds raised have given us a platform to improve our gym facilities.
  • Connecting with Local Communities – We appreciate that our facilities do allow for only certain sessions to be fulfilled. By the links and partnerships forged we have been able to utilise our local communities facilities also. With special mention to both Elm Green Golf Club & KKC Kickboxing club in Cabra. This has allowed us to progress our fitness program by using their facilities and engaging our service users with thier local community.
  • Through the work in the community we continue to raise awareness and continue to train volunteers in sighted guide and mobility training. – Through our Access4All initiative and also our work in the local community we have been able to offer guidance and awareness of visually impairment for both volunteers but also guidance in how to be more accessible in their own facilities. NCBI offers free access audits to businesses and organisations to promote awareness and compliance with disability access law.


5. Promotion

Promote the inclusive nature of our activities, in a variety of formats

  • Social Media Platforms – We promote our health and well-being programs and adapt our sessions to enable anyone to partake in our sessions at home. During this uncertain time we have created an initiative called Exercise4Everone. This is a home workout routine which is audio described to enable people with sight loss to participate. It is adapted for all levels of fitness; from those less mobile, to athletes and also children! We upload a video every Monday, Wednesday and Friday which illustrates progression throughout the week and we also provide weekly challenges where we encourage those who take part to send us in footage of them completing the tasks.
  • Community Links –We continue to promote our inclusive and accessible fitness program with links to other community groups but also promote inclusiveness within their organisations; further developing disability awareness. A fantastic example of this was Small Changes Food Store in Drumcondra who were a sponsor of a team for Shapeshifters and the owner Paedar was a team Captain.  He learnt Sighted Guide and disability awareness and took this knowledge back to his own store.  As Paedar said “The time that I spent with the team made me more aware of the difficulties that people with vision impairments face, in their daily lives. As a consequence of this, my shop has been redesigned in order to make the shop floor more accessible and easier for all.”


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