Sharing their Crann-ing glory

The trailblazing Irish charity Crann has been honoured with a special award.

Philanthropist Kate Jarvey founded the Crann Centre, and she and volunteer Terry O’Neill have been named Joint Cork Persons of the Month for September.

Kate Jarvey, from Kanturk, along with the late Timmy Buckley founded the Crann Centre in 2014. They currently support over 270 families and they have established many ‘first in Ireland’ initiatives, such as their model of care, co-working spaces, and a fully accessible playground and leisure space.

Having founded the Crann Centre in Ovens, Ballincollig, their services include health and continence, psychological wellbeing, education & career pathway and independent living.

They provide the necessary services and supports for children, adults and families who are living with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or childhood stroke.

Kate Jarvey’s important work does not end there as she recently opened a 25 acre accessible conservation area at her farm near Kanturk which gives people with disabilities the opportunity to access nature in an inclusive working conservation area.

Terry O’Neill, a master craftsman, was responsible for building the huge accessible wooden pirate ship which is very much the centrepiece of the “first in Ireland fully accessible playground and leisure area” for children with neuro-physical disabilities.

The playground was officially opened by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in July.

Terry is also a past chairman and committee member of the Cork Spina Bifida Association.

Mr O’Neill has given years of service to children with disabilities in memory of Cathal, his late son who had Spina Bifida.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues at Cumnor Construction and other volunteers and sponsors for their help at the Crann playground. I know Cathal would approve of the way it turned out,” said Terry at the award presentation.

Padraig Mallon, Chief Executive of Crann added: “Our staff and board members are absolutely delighted with this recognition for our founder and Chairperson Kate and for our super volunteer Terry who, supported by a small group of friends, spent every Saturday over the past year building the huge pirate ship by hand.”

Speaking of her motivation in establishing the Crann Centre Kate Jarvey said: “I wanted to break the pattern of fragmented care services for people with disability and their families, so I hope that Crann will be that change maker now and for many years to come.”