About Us

Lovely picture of Naoise and Colette at a Dublin 15 Disability Peer Support group event
Naoise Cunningham with Colette Coughlan

Who we are

Dublin 15 Disability Peer Support Group is the new name for Dublin 15 Leader Forum. However, the group is the same, albeit growing, and the support offered is the same too. We are a community of people with disabilities and we offer support and networking as well as the opportunity to voice issues or seek answers.

We are an autonomous group under the auspices of BCIL.

What is this group about?

The support we offer might come in the form of conversation and sharing experiences or accessing group knowledge or delivering issues to the council. We may also take part in lobbying for change and in educating the public about accessibility or social conditions too. As a group, we push for greater accessibility in the community, therefore benefitting and including everyone.

How we support you

Do you have questions about what happens at our monthly meetings or how you can benefit by attending?

The meeting can be anything you want it to be and whatever suits you.  If you’re the sort of person who just wishes to meet and interact with others for a coffee and a chat, then so be it. The group meetings are a great social outlet and a way to meet new friends. If you wish to be more pro-active in local or national issues, then we can help there too. The peer support group is active in a great many areas of social change.

All are welcome!

“Maybe you worry that you’re not ‘disabled enough’ to attend.  Disabilities come in very many forms and we turn nobody away from our group. Some of us use wheelchairs, others suffer from epilepsy, autism, MS, visual impairment, chronic pain, ME/chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.  Many of us look like what society might deem “normal”.., whatever that is!  Many disabilities are hidden and too often people suffer in silence.” . . . . . . . . Colette Coughlan (Group Co-Ordinator)

Regular activities include:

  • Monthly Forum Meetings
  • Annual Accessibility Audits in the locality
  • Summer Outing and Christmas Dinner

Other events and activities occur on an ad hoc basis depending on group interest or requests. Examples may include workshops, classes, get-togethers and special events.

How it all began

In 2010, Michael Ryan, then Development Officer at BCIL, founded the group to help people with disabilities come together. Michael recognised how isolating illness and disability are and saw the need for a peer support group to help people with disabilities to meet and network.

Michael quickly brought Fingal County Council on board and we now regularly liaise with them on issues such as accessibility. Local councillors, such as Cllr Lorna Nolan, regularly join our meetings to provide the opportunity of delivering issues to the county council.

The Group Today

The group co-ordinator is Colette Coughlan. Colette facilitates events and social media and is the main point of contact for new members. You can contact Colette by email at colettecoughlan7@gmail.com.

Guest Speakers

From time to time we have various speakers attend the forum and talk with us about various matters.  Some recent guests at the peer support group meetings included:

  • Kate Maguire, Psychotherapist speaking on Mindfulness.
  • Suzy Byrne, National Advocacy Service and TV panelist.
  • Daire O’Neill, Community Garda re safety.
  • Lisa-Marie Clinton, Avail Technology, apps for independence
    (see more on her blog post here:  Avail Technology).
  • Sharon Tracey, re Vision Boards and goal setting.
  • Deborah Byrne, Psychology re mental health.
    (see more on her blog post here:  3rd Level Education for PWD).
  • Catherine Kavanagh, Media Labs re digital media.

To find out more about where and when we meet, visit: Meeting Location Details