HomeFitnessLouth branch of Irish Wheelchair Association is fighting fit with Rory O’Connor’s...

Louth branch of Irish Wheelchair Association is fighting fit with Rory O’Connor’s stories


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Comedian and fitness enthusiast Rory O’ Connor joined in with Louth IWA members

Following on from the successful pilot run in 2023 this programme sees individuals from IWA Young Adults Service and employees across Dundalk, Drogheda and Balbriggan take part in CrossFit fitness sessions which are tailored to each individual’s ability and goals.

“It’s amazing to see what IWA are doing here today, there are people with all levels of mobility but there is something for everyone. It’s inspiring,” said Rory, after joining in a session with IWA at CrossFit Louth this week.

“For me, fitness is about different levels and finding your purpose and these IWA members are showing up and putting in the hard work. They are also inspiring others along the way to start on their journey and I’m delighted to be involved.”

IWA Drogheda Member Nicole Callan said that taking part in the inclusive fitness programme has made a huge difference to her life.

“I started as part of the pilot project and I really love it,” she adds. “It has improved my confidence and I feel happier.”

Cathal Downey, Co-Owner of CrossFit Louth, says that the initiative has brought a real positive energy to the gym.

“It’s one of my favourite parts of the week, says Cathal with a smile.

“When I was first approached about the inclusion fitness programme I wasn’t really sure how it would go. Most of the participants had never been to the gym before and were pretty nervous but they really got stuck in and are really enjoying it.”

The expansion of the programme means that 50 people with disabilities are now partaking in the fitness initiative across the three gyms, with some members of IWA staff also joining in.

Sean Kilroy, owner of SKF in Drogheda and Dundalk said that ‘fitness is inclusive and wellbeing knows no exclusions”.

“We are loving being part of this fitness initiative and are looking forward to the partnership with IWA moving forward. The smiles on the participants’ faces and improvements in people’s confidence tells a lot,” says Sean.

Declan Hamilton, IWA Area Manager for the Eastern Region said that the initiative is not about New Year Resolutions or fad diets.

“It’s about giving people the tools to build positive relationships with an active lifestyle for life, which also benefits positive mental health,” says Declan. “During the pilot programme, members gained confidence, felt better about themselves and more positive about their future as well as feeling physically better”.

He added that it is an example of the person-centred approach Irish Wheelchair Association adopts with every member they support.

“We continue to dedicate time and resources to creating inclusive environments for our members of today and far into the future, empowering people with disabilities to live independent lives.”

“We are delighted to have Rory O’Connor of Rory’s Stories involved. He appreciates the benefits of exercise and how important it is to your overall wellbeing and has been very encouraging to members.”

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