Action Forum 

The Action Forum is an elected group of representatives who use CoAction's services. The Action Forum meets once a month. Representatives talk about issues or ideas from their respective areas. Policies, proposals and ideas come from management for discussion by the forum. 

Advocacy in Action!

Bus Eireann

Advocacy is all about standing up for your rights and entitlements. The issue of equality and access is very important. The issue of access to public transport for all is something the forum has talked about a lot.
Bus Eireann services in West Cork are not Wheel chair accessible. The Forum brought this issue forward. The forum chairperson wrote a letter to Bus Eireann enquiring about this and we were told that the infrastructure (footpaths and bus stop) were not suitable.
Some of the Forum members thought that wheelchair accessible buses are on our bus route. We rang the bus station in Cork and they told us that if we booked twenty four hours in advance we could avail of an accessible bus service. So we tried this out both in Bantry and Castletownbere, alas when we rang to book we were told this service was not available.
The issue with the footpath is the responsibility of the local authority, again we sent a letter. A wheelchair accessible bus requires very specific footpath space; this would mean work would have to be done on the existing footpath by the County Council.  
The Forum Chairperson Patrick Santry went to get on the bus recently to highlight the fact that the bus has a lift to accommodate wheelchair users but cannot be used. Mr Santry has a bus pass which entitles him to free travel but he cannot avail of the service at this time.
County Councillor Mary Hegarty has been in contact with us and we hope that there will be some change in this issue in the future.

Money Matters

People having control over their money and having the support necessary to manage their own money has been highlighted through advocacy.
Everyone who attends Co Actions adult services are in receipt of a Disability Allowance paid by Social Services. This is a means tested allowance paid by the state to people who live with a disability to assist them in living their lives. 
Not everyone is in control of their money, through advocacy we learned that some people needed support in looking after their money. There was a Money Matters course run in Skibbereen, Bantry and Castletownbere. This course supported people in learning new skills and brushing up on their money management skills.