What is Blossom Gateway?
Blossom Gateway is a service for teenagers with an intellectual disability that aims to assist in preparing for life after School. Through a series of focus groups aimed at parents and teenagers Blossom Ireland asked the question ‘what type of a service do you need at this point in time?’ Several very clear themes emerged and these formed the basis of the Gateway Programme.
Blossom Gateway is a space where teenagers can be teenagers. Along with providing the opportunity for teens with an intellectual disability to simply hang out together every week, Gateway also gives the opportunity to learn important social skills. The teenagers participating in the programme can learn important life skills such as eating out, shopping and using public transport. Gateway allows teenagers to explore career interests and workplaces and assists with job application skills such as creating a CV and social skills relating to the workplace. Gateway aims to increase confidence, widen expectations and assist teenagers with an ID in working towards a life of their choosing.
Tell us a little about yourself and what motivates you to see your project succeed?
As co-founder and CEO of Blossom Ireland, I am the driving force behind the organisation’s direction and growth. As a mum who sees on a daily basis the challenges my 15 year old son Rory faces I am passionate that his needs and those of families like ours remain at the centre of everything Blossom Ireland does. Along with my insight as a mother, I also bring a lot of business acumen to the organisation thanks to my engineering qualifications and many years spent working in project management and commercial marketing.
What will Engage and Educate Award do for your project?
Blossom Gateway is a 2 year programme covering different themes around preparing our teens with special needs for life after school. Gateway was launched in January 2016 as a pilot project. The Social Innovation fund will allow us to extend the project beyond the pilot year. It will enable us to establish a quality framework for a roll out of the programme more broadly and to compile a programme manual which would be the first step to rolling the programme out to other communities around Ireland.